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The  Diary  of 
Dr.  John  William   Polidori 

The  Diary  of 

Dr.  John  WilHam  PoHdori 


Relating  to  Byron,  Shelley,  etc. 

Edited  and  Elucidated  by 
William  Michael  Rossetti 

"Mi  fur  mostrati  gli  spiriti  magni 
Che  del  vederli  in  me  stesso  n'esalto." — Dante. 





Richard  Clav  &  Sons,  Limited, 

brkad  street  hill,  e.c.,  and 

bungay,  suffolk. 







The  Diary  of 
Dr.  John  William  Polidori 


A  PERSON  whose  name  finds  mention  in  the 
books  about  Byron,  and  to  some  extent  in  those 
about  Shelley,  was  John  William  Polidori,  M.D.  ;  he 
was  Lord  Byron's  travelling  physician  in  1816,  when 
his  Lordship  quitted  England  soon  after  the  separa- 
tion from  his  wife.  I,  who  now  act  as  Editor  of  his 
Diary,  am  a  nephew  of  his,  born  after  his  death. 
Dr.  Polidori  figures  not  very  advantageously  in  the 
books  concerning  Byron  and  Shelley.  He  is  exhibited 
as  overweening  and  petulant,  too  fond  of  putting 
himself  forward  face  to  face  with  those  two  heroes  of 
our  poetical  literature,  and  too  touchy  when  either  of 
them  declined  to  take  him  at  his  own  estimation,  I 
will  allow  that  this  judgment  of  Polidori  is,  so  far  as  it 
goes,  substantially  just ;  and  that  some  of  the  recorded 
anecdotes  of  him  prove  him  deficient  in  self-knowledge, 
lacking  prudence  and  reserve,  and  ignoring  the  dis- 


tinction  between  a  dignified  and  a  quarrelsome 
attitude  of  mind.  He  was,  in  fact,  extremely  young 
when  he  went  abroad  in  April  1816  with  Byron,  to 
whom  he  had  been  recommended  by  Sir  Henry 
Halford  ;  he  was  then  only  twenty  years  of  age  (born 
on  September  7,  1795),  Byron  being  twenty-eight, 
and  Shelley  twenty-three.  The  recommendation 
given  to  so  very  young  a  man  is  a  little  surprising. 
It  would  be  a  mistake,  however,  to  suppose  that 
Polidori  was  without  some  solid  attainments,  and 
some  considerable  share  of  talent.  He  was  the  son 
of  Gaetano  Polidori,  a  Tuscan  man  of  letters  who, 
after  being  secretary  to  the  celebrated  dramatist 
Alfieri,  had  settled  in  London  as  a  teacher  of  Italian, 
and  of  his  English  wife,  a  Miss  Pierce ;  the  parents 
(my  maternal  grand-parents)  survived  to  a  great  age, 
only  dying  in  1853.  John  Polidori,  after  receiving 
his  education  in  the  Roman  Catholic  College  of 
Ampleforth  (Yorkshire),  studied  medicine  in  Edin- 
burgh, and  took  his  doctor's  degree  at  a  singularly 
early  age — I  believe  almost  unexampled — the  age  of 
nineteen.  His  ambition  was  fully  as  much  for  literary 
as  for  professional  distinction ;  and  he  published, 
besides  The  Vampyre  to  which  I  shall  have  to  recur, 
a  prose  tale  named  Ertiestus  Bercktold,  a  volume  of 
verse  containing  a  drama  entitled  Ximenes^  and  some 
other  writings. 


One   of  these   writings   is  the   text  to  a  volume, 
published  in  182 1,  entitled  Sketches  Illustrative  of  the 
Manners  and  Costumes  of  France^  Switzerland^   and 
Italy,  by  R.  Bridgens.     The  name  of  Polidori  is  not 
indeed   recorded   in   this    book,    but    I    know   as   a 
certainty    that    he    was    the    writer.      One   of    the 
designs  in  the  volume  shows  the  costume  of  women 
at   Lerici   just   about    the   time   when    Shelley   was 
staying    there,   in    the   closing   months    of    his    life, 
and  a  noticeable  costume   it  was.     Polidori   himself 
— though    I   am    not    aware   that   he    ever   received 
any  instruction  in  drawing  worth  speaking  of — had 
some  considerable  native  gift  in  sketching  faces  and 
figures   with   lifelike   expression ;    I    possess    a   few 
examples  to  prove  as  much.     The  Diary  shows  that 
he  took  some  serious  and  intelligent  interest  in  works 
of  art,  as  well  as  in  literature ;  and  he  was  clearly  a 
rapid   and   somewhat   caustic  judge   of  character — 
perhaps  a  correct  one.    He  was  a  fine,  rather  romantic- 
looking  young  man,  as  evidenced  by  his  portrait  in 
the  National  Portrait  Gallery,  accepted  from  me  by 
that  Institution  in  1895. 

Dr.  Polidori's  life  was  a  short  one.  Not  long  after 
quitting  Lord  Byron  in  18 16  he  returned  to  London, 
and  in  Norwich  continued  his  medical  career,  but 
eventually  relinquished  this,  and  began  studying  for 
the  Bar.    It  is  said  that  Miss  Harriett  Martineau  was 


rather  in  love  with  him  in  Norwich.  In  August 
1 82 1  he  committed  suicide  with  poison — having, 
through  losses  in  gambling,  incurred  a  debt  of 
honour  which  he  had  no  present  means  of  clearing 
off.  That  he  did  take  poison,  prussic  acid,  was  a  fact 
perfectly  well  known  in  his  family ;  but  it  is  curious 
to  note  that  the  easy-going  and  good-naturedly 
disposed  coroner's  jury  were  content  to  return  a 
verdict  without  eliciting  any  distinct  evidence  as  to 
the  cause  of  death,  and  they  simply  pronounced  that 
he  had  "  died  by  the  visitation  of  God." 

The  matter  was  reported  in  two  papers.  The 
Traveller  and  The  New  Times.  I  possess  a  copy, 
made  by  my  mother  at  the  time,  of  the  reports ;  and 
it  may  perhaps  be  as  well  inserted  here- 

Copied  from  The  Traveller. 

Monday  Evening  \_August  Tjthy  182 1]. 

Melancholy  Event. — Mr.  Polidori,  residing  in  Great 
Pulteney  Street,  retired  to  rest  about  his  usual  time  on 
Thursday  night ;  the  servant,  not  finding  him  rise  at 
the  usual  hour  yesterday,  went  to  his  room  between 
eleven  and  twelve  o'clock,  and  found  him  groaning, 
and  apparently  in  the  last  agonies  of  death.  An 
alarm  was  given  and  medical  aid  was  immediately 
called,  but  before  the  arrival  of  Surgeons  Copeland 


and  Davies,  he  was  no  more.  His  father  was  at  the 
time  on  his  journey  to  London  to  see  his  son,  and 
arrived  about  three  hours  after  the  event.  We  under- 
stand the  deceased  was  about  twenty-six  years  of 
age,  and  had  for  some  time  accompanied  Lord  Byron 
in  Italy.  A  Coroner's  Inquest  will  sit  this  day  to 
ascertain  the  cause  of  his  death. 

Copied  from   The  New  Times. 

Tuesday  {September  iith,  1821]. 

Coroner's  Inquest  on  John  Polidori,  Esquire. — 
An  Inquisition  has  been  taken  before  T.  Higgs, 
Esquire,  Deputy  Coroner,  at  the  residence  of  the 
father  of  the  above  unfortunate  gentleman,  in  Great 
Pulteney  Street,  Golden  Square,  who  was  discovered 
lying  on  his  bed  in  a  state  nearly  approaching  to 
death,  and  soon  afterwards  expired. 

Charlotte  Reed,  the  servant  to  Mr.  Gaetano  Poli- 
dori, the  father  of  the  deceased,  said  her  master's  son 
lived  in  the  house,  and  for  some  time  had  been 
indisposed.  On  Monday  the  20th  of  August  last  he 
returned  from  Brighton,  since  which  his  conduct  mani- 
fested strong  symptoms  of  incoherence,  and  he  gave 
his  order  for  dinner  in  a  very  strange  manner.  On  the 
Thursday  following  the  deceased  dined  with  a  gentle- 
man residing  in  the  same  house,  and  on  that  occasion 


he  appeared  very  much  depressed  in  his  spirits. 
About  nine  o'clock  the  same  evening  he  ordered 
witness  to  leave  a  glass  (tumbler)  in  his  room  ;  this 
was  unusual,  but  one  was  placed  as  he  desired. 
Deceased  told  her  he  was  unwell ;  if  therefore  he  did 
not  get  up  by  twelve  o'clock  the  next  day,  not  to 
disturb  him.  Witness,  however,  a  few  minutes  before 
twelve,  went  into  his  room  to  open  the  shutters,  and 
on  her  return  saw  the  deceased  lying  in  bed ;  he  was 
not  in  any  unusual  position,  but  seemed  extremely 
ill.  Witness  immediately  left  the  room,  went  up- 
stairs, and  communicated  what  she  had  observed  to  a 
gentleman,  who  instantly  came  down.  Witness  then 
went  for  medical  assistance.  The  deceased  was  about 
twenty-six  years  of  age. — Mr.  John  Deagostini,  the 
gentleman  alluded  to  by  the  last  witness,  corroborated 
her  statement  on  his  giving  him  the  invitation  to 
dine,  which  he  accepted  in  a  way  quite  different  from 
his  usual  conduct.  Witness  also  observed  that,  some 
time  since,  the  deceased  had  met  with  an  accident — 
was  thrown  out  of  his  gig,  and  seriously  hurt  in  the 
head.  On  Thursday  at  dinner  he  spoke  in  half 
sentences ;  the  conversation  was  on  politics  and  a 
future  state.  The  deceased  observed  rather  harshly 
that  witness  would  see  more  than  him ;  he  appeared 
to  be  deranged  in  his  mind,  and  his  countenance  was 
haggard.     At  dinner  he  ate  very  little  :  soon  after  left 


the  room,  but  joined  again  at  tea  ;  hardly  spoke  a 
word,  and  retired  at  nine  o'clock.  After  breakfast 
next  morning,  witness  inquired  of  the  servant  whether 
Mr.  Polidori  had  gone  out.  She  replied  no,  and  that 
he  had  desired  her  not  to  disturb  him.  About  twelve 
o'clock  the  servant  came  to  him  very  much  alarmed. 
Witness  went  immediately  to  the  apartment  of  the 
deceased,  and  observed  a  tumbler  on  the  chair,  which 
contained  nothing  but  water,  and  did  not  perceive 
any  deleterious  substance  that  the  deceased  might 
have  taken  ;  he  was  senseless,  and  apparently  in  a 
dying  state.  —  Mr.  Thomas  Copeland,  a  surgeon 
residing  in  Golden  Square,  was  sent  for  suddenly  to 
attend  the  deceased,  and  attempted  to  discharge  the 
contents  of  the  stomach  without  effect.  He  lingered 
for  about  ten  minutes,  and  expired.  Another  medical 
gentleman  soon  after  arrived,  but  his  assistance  was 
also  unavailing. — There  being  no  further  evidence 
adduced  to  prove  how  the  deceased  came  to  his 
death,  the  jury,  under  these  circumstances,  returned  a 
verdict  of — Died  by  the  visitation  of  God. 

Medwin,  in  his  Conversations  witk  Lord  Byron^ 
gives  the  following  account  of  how  the  poet  received 
the  news  of  Dr.  Polidori's  death.  "  I  was  convinced  " 
(said  Byron)  "  something  very  unpleasant  hung  over 
me  last  night :  I  expected  to  hear  that  somebody  I 
knew  was  dead.     So  it  turns  out — poor  Polidori  is 


gone.  When  he  was  my  physician  he  was  always 
talking  of  prussic  acid,  oil  of  amber,  blowing  into 
veins,  suffocating  by  charcoal,  and  compounding 
poisons ;  but  for  a  different  purpose  to  what  the 
Pontic  monarch  did,  for  he  has  prescribed  a  dose 
for  himself  that  would  have  killed  fifty  Mithridates 
— a  dose  whose  effect,  Murray  says,  was  so  instan- 
taneous that  he  went  off  without  a  spasm  or  struggle. 
It  seems  that  disappointment  was  the  cause  of  this 
rash  act." — The  evidence  of  the  servant  at  the  inquest 
shows  that  death  did  not  come  so  very  suddenly ;  and 
in  my  own  family  I  always  heard  the  poison  spoken 
of  as  simply  prussic  acid. 

This  is  all  that  I  need  say  at  present  to  explain 
who  Dr.  Polidori  was;  but  I  must  add  a  few  words 
regarding  his  Diary. 

The  day  when  the  young  doctor  obtained  the  post 
of  travelling  physician  to  the  famous  poet  and  man  of 
fashion.  Lord  Byron,  about  to  leave  England  for  the 
Continent,  must,  no  doubt,  have  been  regarded  by  him 
and  by  some  of  his  family  as  a  supremely  auspicious 
one,  although  in  fact  it  turned  out  the  reverse.  The 
article  on  Polidori  written  in  The  Dictionary  of  National 
Biography  by  my  valued  friend,  the  late  Dr.  Garnett, 
speaks  of  him  as  "physician  and  secretary  to  Lord 
Byron  "  ;  but  I  never  heard  that  he  undertook  or  per- 
formed any  secretarial  work  worth  speaking  of,  and 


I  decidedly  believe  that  he  did  not.  The  same  state- 
ment occurs  in  the  inscription  on  his  likeness  in 
the  National  Portrait  Gallery.  Polidori's  father  had 
foreseen,  in  the  Byronic  scheme,  disappointment  as 
only  too  likely,  and  he  opposed  the  project,  but  with- 
out success.  To  be  the  daily  companion  and  intimate 
of  so  great  a  man  as  Byron,  to  visit  foreign  scenes  in 
his  society,  to  travel  into  his  own  father's  native  land, 
which  he  regarded  with  a  feeling  of  enthusiasm,  and 
with  whose  language  he  was  naturally  well  acquainted, 
to  be  thus  launched  upon  a  career  promising  the 
utmost  development  and  satisfaction  to  his  literary  as 
well  as  professional  enterprise — all  this  may  have 
seemed  like  the  realization  of  a  dream  almost  too 
good  to  be  true.  To  crown  all,  Mr.  Murray,  Byron's 
publisher,  had  offered  Polidori  no  less  a  sum  than 
;^5oo  (or  5CX)  guineas)  for  an  account  of  his 
forthcoming  tour.  Polidori  therefore  began  to  keep 
a  Diary,  heading  it  Journal  of  a  Journey  through 
Flanders  etc.  ^  from  April  24,  1816,  /<?  ; 

and  the  blank  was  eventually  filled  in  with  the 
date  "December  28,  1816";  it  should  rather  stand 
"  December  30."  Portions  of  the  Diary  are  written 
with  some  detail,  and  a  perceptible  aim  at  literary 
effect — Murray's  ;^500  being  manifestly  in  view ;  in 
other  instances  the  jottings  are  slight,  and  merely 
enough  for  guiding  the  memory.     On  this  footing  the 


Journal  goes  on  up  to  June  30,  18 16.  It  was  then 
dropped,  as  Polidori  notes  "through  neglect  and 
dissipation,"  for  he  saw  a  great  deal  of  company.  On 
September  5  he  wrote  up  some  summarized  reminis- 
cences; and  from  September  16,  the  day  when  he 
parted  company  with  Byron  at  Cologny,  near  Geneva, 
and  proceeded  to  journey  through  Italy  on  his  own 
account,  he  continued  with  some  regularity  up  to 
December  30,  when  he  was  sojourning  in  Pisa.  That 
is  the  latest  day  of  which  any  record  remains ;  but  it 
is  known  from  other  evidence  that  Dr.  Polidori  con- 
tinued in  Italy  up  to  April  14,  1817  :  he  then  left 
Venice  in  company  with  the  new  Earl  of  Guilford  and 
his  mother — being  their  travelling  physician.  Whether 
the  Journal  is  in  any  fair  degree  interesting  or  brightly 
written  is  a  question  which  the  reader  will  settle  for 
himself;  as  a  document  relevant  to  the  life  of  two 
illustrious  poets,  it  certainly  merits  some  degree  of 

My  own  first  acquaintance  with  the  Diary  of  Dr. 
Polidori  dates  back  to  1 869,  when  I  was  preparing  the 
Memoir  of  Shelley  which  preludes  my  edition  of  his 
poems,  published  in  1870;  I  then  availed  myself  of 
the  Shelleian  information  contained  in  the  Diary,  and 
even  gave  two  or  three  verbatim  extracts  from  it. 
The  MS.  book  was  at  that  time  the  property  of  a 
sister  of  his.  Miss  Charlotte  Lydia  Polidori,  a  lady  of 


advanced  age.  I  regret  to  say  that  my  aunt,  on 
receiving  the  MS.  back  from  me,  took  it  into  her 
head  to  read  it  through — a  thing  which  I  fancy  she 
had  never  before  done,  or  certainly  had  not  done  for 
very  many  years,  and  that  she  found  in  it  some  few 
passages  which  she  held  to  be  "  improper,"  and,  with 
the  severe  virtue  so  characteristic  of  an  English 
maiden  aunt,  she  determined  that  those  passages 
should  no  longer  exist.  I  can  remember  one  about 
Byron  and  a  chambermaid  at  Ostend,  and  another, 
later  on,  about  Polidori  himself.  My  aunt  therefore 
took  the  trouble  of  copying  out  the  whole  Diary, 
minus  the  peccant  passages,  and  she  then  ruthlessly 
destroyed  the  original  MS.  After  her  death — which 
occurred  in  January  1890,  when  she  had  attained  the 
age  of  eighty-seven  years — her  transcript  came  into 
my  possession.  Its  authority  is  only  a  shade  less 
safe  than  that  of  the  original,  and  it  is  from  the 
transcript  that  I  have  had  to  work  in  compiling  my 
present  volume. 

I  will  now  refer  in  some  detail  to  the  matter 
of  Dr.  Polidori's  romantic  tale,  The  Vampyre ; 
not  only  because  this  matter  is  of  some  literary 
interest  in  itself,  but  more  especially  because  the 
account  of  it  given  in  The  Dictionary  of  National 
Biography  treats  Polidori,  in  this  regard,  with  no 
indulgence,  and  I  believe  (however  unintentionally  on 


the  part  of  the  late  Dr.  Garnett)  with  less  than 
justice.  He  says.:  "In  April  1819  he  [Polidori] 
published  in  The  New  Monthly  Magazine,  and  also  in 
pamphlet- form,  the  celebrated  story  of  TJu  Vampyre^ 
which  he  attributed  to  Byron.  The  ascription  was 
fictitious.  Byron  had  in  fact,  in  June  1816,  begun  to 
write  at  Geneva  a  story  with  this  title,  in  emulation 
of  Mrs.  Shelley's  Frankenstein  ;  but  dropped  it  before 
reaching  the  superstition  which  it  was  to  have  illus- 
trated. He  sent  the  fragment  to  Murray  upon  the 
appearance  of  Polidori's  fabrication,  and  it  is  inserted 
in  his  works.  He  further  protested  in  a  carelessly 
good-natured  disclaimer  addressed  to  Galignanfs 

The  facts  of  the  case  appear  to  be  as  follows.  As 
we  shall  see  in  the  Diary,  Polidori  began,  near  Geneva, 
a  tale  which  (according  to  Mrs.  Shelley)  was  about  a 
"skull-headed  lady,"  and  he  was  clearly  aware  that 
Byron  had  commenced  a  story  about  a  vampyre. 
After  quitting  Byron,  Polidori,  in  conversation  with 
the  Countess  of  Breuss,  mentioned  in  his  Journal, 
spoke  (unless  we  are  to  discredit  his  own  account)  of 
the  subject  of  the  great  poet's  tale  ;  the  Countess 
questioned  whether  anything  could  be  made  of  such 
a  theme,  and  Polidori  then  tried  his  hand  at  carrying 
it  out.  He  left  the  MS.  with  the  Countess,  and 
thought  little  or  no  more  about  it.     After  his  depart- 


ure  from  that  neighbourhood  some  person  who  was 
travelling  there  (one  might  perhaps  infer  a  lady) 
obtained  the  MS.  either  from  the  Countess  of  Breuss 
or  from  some  person  acquainted  with  the  Countess : 
this  would,  I  suppose,  be  the  Madame  Gatelier  who  is 
named  in  the  Journal  along  with  the  Countess.  The 
traveller  then  forwarded  the  tale  to  the  Publisher, 
Colburn,  telling  him — and  this  statement  was  printed 
by  Colburn  as  an  Extract  of  a  Letter  from  Geneva — 
that  certain  tales  were  "  undertaken  by  Lord  B[yron], 
the  physician  [Polidori],  and  Miss  M.  W.  Godwin," 
and  that  the  writer  received  from  her  female  friend 
"the  outline  of  each  of  these  stories."  She  did  not  say 
that  the  completed  Vampyre  was  the  production  of 
Byron ;  but  Colburn  inferred  this,  and  in  the 
magazine  he  attributed  it  to  Byron,  printing  his  name 
as  author. 

Among  the  papers  which  were  left  by  Dr.  Polidori 
at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  which  have  come  into 
my  possession,  are  the  drafts  of  two  letters  of  his — 
one  addressed  to  Mr.  Henry  Colburn,  and  the  other  to 
the  Editor  of  The  Morning  Chronicle,  These  letters 
were  actually  dispatched,  and  (having  no  sort  of 
reason  to  suspect  the  contrary)  I  assume  that  they 
contain  a  truthful  account  of  the  facts.  If  so,  they 
exonerate  Polidori  from  the  imputation  of  having 
planned  or  connived  at  a  literary  imposture.     In  his 


letter  to  Mr.  Colburn  he  affirms  (as  will  be  seen)  that 
the  following  incidents  in  his  tale  were  borrowed  from 
Byron's  project :  the  departure  of  two  friends  from 
England,  one  of  them  dying  in  Greece  [but  it  is  in 
fact  near  Ephesus]  after  exacting  from  his  companion 
an  oath  not  to  mention  his  death ;  the  revival  of  the 
dead  man,  and  his  then  making  love  to  the  sister  of 
his  late  companion.  The  story  begun  by  Byron  and 
published  along  with  Mazeppa  contains  the  incidents 
above  named,  except  only  the  important  incident  of 
the  dead  man's  revival  and  his  subsequent  love- 
making.  Byron's  extant  writing,  which  is  a  mere 
fragment,  affords  no  trace  of  that  upshot;  but 
Polidori  must  have  known  that  such  was  the  intended 
sequel.  It  may  be  added  that  the  resemblance 
between  these  productions  of  Byron  and  of  Polidori 
extends  only  to  incidents :  the  form  of  narrative  is 

I  proceed  to  give  the  letter  of  Dr.  Polidori  to  Mr. 
Colburn,  followed  by  the  letter  to  the  Editor  of  The 
Morning  Chronicle.  This  latter  goes  over  a  good  deal 
of  the  same  ground  as  the  letter  to  Colburn,  so  I 
shorten  it  very  considerably. 


John  Polidori  to  Henry  Colburn. 

[London],  April  2  [1S19]. 


I  received  a  copy  of  the  magazine  of  last 
April  (the  present  month),  and  am  sorry  to  find  that 
your  Genevan  correspondent  has  led  you  into  a 
mistake  with  regard  to  the  tale  of  Tke  Vampyre — 
which  is  not  Lord  Byron's,  but  was  written  entirely 
by  me  at  the  request  of  a  lady,  who  (upon  my  men- 
tioning that  his  Lordship  had  said  that  it  was  his 
intention  of  writing  a  ghost  story,  depending  for 
interest  upon  the  circumstances  of  two  friends  leaving 
England,  and  one  dying  in  Greece,  the  other  finding 
him  alive,  upon  his  return,  and  making  love  to  his 
sister)  saying  that  she  thought  it  impossible  to  work 
up  such  materials,  desired  I  would  write  it  for  her, 
which  I  did  in  two  idle  mornings  by  her  side.  These 
circumstances  above  mentioned,  and  the  one  of  the 
dying  man  having  obtained  an  oath  that  the  survivor 
should  not  in  any  way  disclose  his  decease,  are  the 
only  parts  of  the  tale  belonging  to  his  Lordship.  I 
desire,  therefore,  that  you  will  positively  contradict 
your  statement  in  the  next  number,  by  the  insertion 
of  this  note. 

With  regard  to  my  own  tale,  it  is  imperfect  and 
unfinished.      I    had   rather   therefore   it   should    not 


appear  in  the  magazine ;  and,  if  the  Editor  had  sent 
his  communication,  as  he  mentions,  he  would  have 
been  spared  this  mistake. 

But,  sir,  there  is  one  circumstance  of  which  I  must 
request  a  further  explanation.  I  observe  upon  the 
back  of  your  publication  the  announcement  of  a 
separate  edition.  Now,  upon  buying  this,  I  find 
that  it  states  in  the  title-page  that  it  was  entered 
into  Stationers'  Hall  upon  March  27,  consequently 
before  your  magazine  was  published.  I  wish  there- 
fore to  ask  for  information  how  this  tale  passed 
from  the  hands  of  your  Editor  into  those  of  a 

As  it  is  a  mere  trifle,  I  should  have  had  no 
objection  to  its  appearing  in  your  magazine,  as  I 
could,  in  common  with  any  other,  have  extracted  it 
thence,  and  republished  it.  But  I  shall  not  sit 
patiently  by  and  see  it  taken  without  my  consent, 
and  appropriated  by  any  person.  As  therefore  it 
must  have  passed  through  your  hands  (as  stated 
in  the  magazine)  from  a  correspondent,  I  shall 
expect  that  you  will  account  to  me  for  the  publishers, 
Messrs.  Sherwood  and  Neely,  having  possession  of  it 
and  appropriating  it  to  themselves  ;  and  demand  either 
that  a  compensation  be  made  me,  or  that  its  separate 
publication  be  instantly  suppressed. 

Hoping    for    an    immediate    answer,    which    will 


save  me  the  trouble  of  obtaining  an  injunction,  I 


Your  obedient  servant, 

John  Polidori. 

To  THE  Editor  of  The  Morning  Chronicle. 


As  you  were  the  first  person  to  whom  I 
wrote  to  state  that  the  tale  of  The  Vampyre  was 
not  Lord  Byron's,  I  beg  you  to  insert  the  following 
statement  in  your  paper.  .  .  .  The  tale,  as  I  stated 
to  you  in  my  letter,  was  written  upon  the  foundation 
of  a  purposed  and  begun  story  of  Lord  Byron's. 
.  .  .  Lord  Byron,  in  a  letter  dated  Venice,  stated 
that  he  knew  nothing  of  the  Vampyre  story,  and 
hated  vampyres  ;  but,  while  this  letter  was  busily 
circulating  in  all  the  London  and  provincial  papers, 
the  fragment  at  the  end  of  Mazeppa  was  in  the 
hands  of  his  publishers  in  Albemarle  Street,  with 
the  date  of  June  17,  18 16,  attached  to  it,  being 
the  beginning  of  his  tale  upon  this  very  foundation. 
My  development  was  written  on  the  Continent, 
and  left  with  a  lady  at  whose  request  it  was  under- 
taken ;  in  the  course  of  three  mornings  by  her  side 

it    was    produced,   and    left    with    her.      From    her 


hands,  by  means  of  a  correspondent,  without  my 
knowledge,  it  came  into  those  of  the  Editor  of  The 
New  Monthly^  with  a  letter  stating  it  to  be  an  ebauche 
of  Lord  Byron's.  Mr.  Watts,  as  Editor  of  that 
magazine,  stated  in  his  notice  that  the  tale  which 
accompanies  the  letters  "  we  also  present  to  our 
readers  without  pledging  ourselves  for  its  authenticity 
as  the  production  of  Lord  Byron  "  ;  and  he  continues, 
"  We  should  suppose  it  to  have  been  committed  to 
paper  rather  from  the  recital  of  a  third  person."  This, 
however,  after  the  publication  of  700  copies,  was 
cancelled  by  the  p^iblisker^  and  another  notice  in- 
serted stating  it  to  be  decidedly  his  Lordship's,  in 
direct  opposition  (as  I  am  informed)  to  the  Editor's 
will — who  has  since  retired  from  the  conduct  of  the 

Immediately  it  was  published  I  procured  a  copy  ; 
and,  upon  finding  that  it  was  an  almost  forgotten 
trifle  of  my  own,  instantly  wrote  to  you  as  Editor 
of  The  Morning  Chronicle,  stating  the  little  share 
Lord  Byron  had  in  the  work.  This  was  upon  the 
Friday  evening  after  its  publication.  I  at  the  same 
time  wrote  to  the  publishers  of  the  tale  in  its  separate 
form,  and  to  those  of  the  magazine,  to  stop  its  sale 
under  his  Lordship's  name.  On  Monday  the  pub- 
lishers of  the  magazine  called  upon  me,  and  promised 
it  should  be  instantly  announced  as  mine.  .  .  .  When 


I  came  to  claim  my  share  in  the  profits,  I  was  offered 
£$0,  instead  of  nearly  ^^300.  .  .  . 

Your  obedient  servant, 

John  Polidori. 

The  prefatory  note  to  Tke  Vampyre^  in  The  New 
Monthly  Magazine,  runs  thus  :  "  We  received  several 
private  letters  in  the  course  of  last  autumn  from  a 
friend  travelling  on  the  Continent,  and  among  others 
the  following,  which  we  give  to  the  public  on  account 
of  its  containing  anecdotes  of  an  individual  concerning 
whom  the  most  trifling  circumstances,  if  they  tend  to 
mark  even  the  minor  features  of  his  mind,  cannot  fail 
of  being  considered  important  and  valuable  by  those 
who  know  how  to  appreciate  his  erratic  but  tran- 
scendent genius.  The  tale  which  accompanied  the 
letter  we  have  also  much  pleasure  in  presenting  to 
our  readers. — Ed."     There  is  also  a  final  note  thus  : 

"  We  have  in  our  possession  the  tale  of  Dr. ,  as 

well  as  the  outline  of  that  of  Miss  Godwin.  The  latter 
has  already  appeared  under  the  title  of  Frankenstein, 
or  The  Modem  Prometheus.  The  former,  however, 
upon  consulting  with  its  author,  we  may  probably 
hereafter  give  to  our  readers. — Ed." 

Two  questions  arise  as  to  that  prefatory  note : 
(i)  Did  the  Editor  really  write  it,  or  did  the  Publisher 
Colburn  write  it  ?     (2)  Is  the  averment  true  or  false 


that  the  Editor  (or  the  Publisher)  had  received  in  the 
course  of  the  preceding  autumn  "several  private 
letters"  from  the  same  person  who  had  now  for- 
warded a  letter  enclosing   The    Vampyre  ? 

Murray  wrote  to  Lord  Byron  on  April  27,  18 19. 
He  speaks  of  the  publication  of  The  Vampyre  in  The 
New  Monthly  Magazine,  ^.nA  afterwards  in  book-form, 
and  proceeds:  "The  Editor  of  that  journal  has 
quarrelled  with  the  Publisher,  and  has  called  this 
morning  to  exculpate  himself  from  the  baseness  of 
the  transaction.  He  says  that  he  received  it  from 
Dr.  Polidori  for  a  small  sum  ;  Polidori  averring  that 
the  whole  plan  of  it  was  yours,  and  that  it  was 
merely  written  out  by  him.  The  Editor  inserted  it 
with  a  short  statement  to  this  effect ;  but,  to  his 
astonishment,  Colburn  cancelled  the  leaf  .  .  .  He 
informs  me  that  Polidori,  finding  that  the  sale  ex- 
ceeded his  expectation  and  that  he  had  sold  it  too 
cheap,  went  to  the  Editor  and  declared  that  he  would 
deny  it." 

This  statement  by  Murray  makes  it  probable  that 
the  paragraph  purporting  to  come  from  the  Editor, 
or  some  substantial  part  of  it,  really  emanated  from 
the  Publisher,  and  the  same  is  definitely  asserted  in 
Polidori's  letter  to  The  Morning  Chronicle;  but 
Murray's  letter  does  not  settle  the  question  whether 
the  allegation  about  a  traveller  at  Geneva  was  true 


or  false.  The  Editor's  assertion  that  "  he  received  it 
from  Dr.  Polidori  for  a  small  sum  "  does  not  by  any 
means  clear  up  all  the  facts.  It  seems  quite  possible 
that  there  really  was  a  correspondent  at  Geneva  who 
sent  to  the  Editor  the  MS.  of  The  Vampyre,  along 
with  that  of  Polidori's  other  tale,  and  an  outline  of 
Mary  Shelley's  Frankenstein,  as  expressly  affirmed  in 
the  final  note  signed  "  Ed."  ;  and  that  the  Editor, 
having  no  right  to  publish  The  Vampyre  unless  by 
authority  of  its  writer,  spoke  to  Polidori  about  it. 
How  could  Polidori  dispose  of  it  "  for  a  small  sum  " 
if  he  alleged  that  it  was  written  by  Byron,  or  by  any 
one  other  than  himself?  He  averred  "  that  the  whole 
plan  of  it  was  "  Byron's — and  this  is  apparently  true ; 
adding  "that  it  was  merely  written  out  by"  himself — 
in  the  sense  not  of  having  written  from  Byron's 
dictation,  but  of  having  composed  a  story  founded 
upon  Byron's  intended  incidents.  Murray's  final 
phrase — that  Polidori  "  went  to  the  Editor,  and  de- 
clared that  he  would  deny  it " — is  loosely  expressed, 
but  seems  to  mean  that  he  would  deny  Byron's 
authorship  of  The  Vampyre — and  so  in  fact  he  did. 

If  we  suppose  (as  did  Murray  apparently)  that 
Polidori  had  in  the  first  instance  planned  a  deliberate 
imposture,  and  had  palmed  off  upon  the  Editor  The 
Vampyre  as  being  virtually  the  writing  of  Byron,  we 
are  encountered  by  three  difficulties  left  unexplained  : 


( I )  What  plea  could  Polidori  advance  for  having  the  MS. 
and  the  right  of  publishing  it  ?  (2)  Why  did  he  sell  for 
"  a  small  sum  "  a  work  which,  if  written  by  the  world- 
famous  Lord  Byron,  would  be  worth  a  very  consider- 
able sum  ?  (3)  Why  did  the  Editor  pay  to  Polidori  a 
sum,  whether  small  or  large,  for  a  book  which,  accord- 
ing to  this  assumption,  was  avowedly  not  the  writing 
of  himself,  but  the  writing  and  property  of  Byron  ? 
All  these  difficulties  are  avoided,  and  no  other  serious 
difficulties  arise,  if  we  assume  that  the  account  given 
by  Polidori  is  the  true  one,  viz.  that  he  offered  the 
tale  to  the  Editor  as  being  his  own  composition, 
strictly  modelled  upon  a  series  of  incidents  invented 
by  Byron. 

Polidori's  letter,  addressed  to  the  Editor  of  The 
Morning  Chronicle,  was,  as  I  have  already  said, 
delivered  to  the  office  of  that  paper.  It  was  not 
however  published  there,  as  Messrs.  Sherwood,  Neely, 
and  Jones,  the  publishers  of  The  Vampyre  in  its  book- 
form,  represented  to  Polidori  that  the  appearance  of 
such  a  letter  would  tend  to  compromise  them,  and  he 
therefore,  out  of  consideration  for  this  firm,  withdrew 
the  letter  unprinted.  This  is  Polidori's  own  state- 
ment, contained  in  the  Introduction  to  another 
romantic  tale  of  his,  Emestus  Berchtold,  published  in 
1 8 19;  being  the  tale  by  Polidori  which,  as  stated  by 
the  Editor  of  The  New  Monthly  Magazine^  had  been 


sent  to  him  along  with  The  Vampyre  and  the  outline 
of  Frankenstein.  Besides  all  this,  the  Doctor  wrote  a 
brief  letter,  published  in  The  Courier  on  May  5,  18 19, 
saying — what  was  clearly  the  fact — "Though  the 
groundwork  is  certainly  Lord  Byron's,  its  development 
is  mine." 

I  must  now  revert  for  a  moment  to  the  "  skull- 
headed  lady."  In  the  Introduction  above  named 
Polidori  asserts  that  that  tale,  Emestus  Berchtold,  was 
the  one  which  he  began  at  Cologny.  It  does  not 
contain  any  sort  of  mention  of  any  skull-headed  lady. 
There  is  some  supernatural  machinery  in  the  story,  of 
a  rather  futile  kind ;  it  could  be  excluded  without 
affecting  the  real  basis  of  the  narrative,  which  relates 
the  love-affair  and  marriage  of  a  young  Swiss  patriot 
with  a  lady  who  is  ultimately  identified  as  his  sister. 
As  to  Mrs.  Shelley's  allegation  that  the  (non-existent) 
skull-headed  lady  was  punished  for  "  peeping  through 
a  keyhole,"  no  such  incident  exists  in  Emestus 
Berchtold;  there  is,  however,  a  passage  where  a  certain 
Julia  seeks  to  solve  a  mystery  by  looking  "  through 
the  wainscot  of  a  closet  for  wood."  Her  head,  after 
this  inspection,  remains  exactly  what  it  was  before. 

The  Vampyre  was  in  its  way  a  great  success.  As 
stated  in  The  Dictionary  of  National  Biography^ 
Byron's  name  gave  Polidori's  production  great  cele- 
brity on  the  Continent,  where    The    Vampyre  was 


held  to  be  quite  the  thing  which  it  behoved  Byron 
to  have  written.  It  formed  the  groundwork  of 
Marschner's  opera,  and  nearly  half  a  volume  of 
Dumas's  Memoirs  is  occupied  by  an  account  of  the 
representation  of  a  French  play  founded  upon  it. 


1816.  April  2\. — I  left  London  at  10  in  the  morn 
ing,    with    Lord   Byron,    Scrope    Davies,   Esq.,   and 
J.   Hobhouse,  Esq. 

[Mr.  Scrope  Berdmore  Davies  had  been  one  of 
Byron's  fellow-students  and  intimates  at  Cambridge 
University,  and  had  continued  familiar  with  him 
at  Newstead  Abbey  and  elsewhere.  He  has  been 
described  as  "no  less  remarkable  for  elegance  of 
taste  than  for  a  generous  high-mindedness,"  Mr. 
John  Cam  Hobhouse  (afterwards  Sir  J.  C.  Hob- 
house,  and  ultimately  Lord  Broughton  de  Gifford) 
was,  it  need  hardly  be  said,  a  peculiarly  close  friend 
of  Byron.  He  had  accompanied  him  in  his  travels 
in  Greece  prior  to  the  commencement  of  Childe 
Harold,  wrote  notes  to  that  poem,  and  to  the 
last  upheld  the  essential  fineness  of  his  Lordship's 
character.  Byron's  intention  to  travel  along  with 
Hobhouse  in  the  spring  of  18 16  was  not  a  new 
project  conceived  in  consequence  of  his  separation, 
only  completed  on  April  22,  from  his  wife.  He  had 
entertained  this  scheme  before  his  daughter  Ada  was 



born  on  December  lo,  1815,  and  had  announced  it 
to  his  wife,  to  whom  the  notion  was  not  agreeable.] 

The  view  from  Shooter's  Hill  was  extensive  and 
beautiful,  being  on  a  much  larger  scale  than  the  view 
from  Stirling. 

[Polidori  mentions  Stirling,  as  being  no  doubt  a 
reminiscence  of  his  own,  from  the  days  when  he  had 
been  in  Edinburgh  to  take  his  medical  degree.] 

The  plain,  enamelled  with  various  colours  accord- 
ing to  the  different  growth  of  the  corn,  spread  far 
before  our  sight,  was  divided  irregularly  by  the  river. 
The  Thames  next,  with  its  majestic  waves,  flowed  in 
the  plain  below,  bearing  numerous  fleets  upon  its 
flood.  Its  banks  in  many  parts  were  beautiful.  The 
chalky  banks  were  alternated  with  the  swelling  hills, 
rising  from  the  waves,  of  the  pleasing  green-brown, 
the  effect  of  the  first  dawn  of  spring  on  the  vegetable 

At  Canterbury  we  saw  the  Cathedral.  I  know  not 
how  it  was,  whether  my  mind  had  been  prepared  by 
the  previous  sight  of  glorious  nature  to  receive 
pleasing  impressions,  but  the  spot  where  the  high 
altar  and  Thomas  a  Becket's  tomb  stood  seemed  to 
me  one  of  the  most  beautiful  effects  that  I  had  ever 
seen  arising  from  Saxo-Gothic  architecture;  for, 
though  it  had  not  all  the  ^airiness  and  awe-inspiring 
height  that  I  had  seen  in  other  cathedrals,  yet  its 

DOVEK  37 

simple  beauty  pleased  me  more  than  anything  I  had 
yet  seen. 

Remounting,  we  soon  arrived  at  Dover,  where  we 
slept,  when  the  packet-boat  captain  had  sufficiently 
disturbed  us. 

April  25. — This  day  was  spent  at  Dover  The 
greater  part  was  occupied  in  procuring  what  had 
been  neglected  in  London,  and  in  seeing  the  carriage 
well  packed  up.  After  dinner,  however,  we  went  in 
search  of  Churchill's  tomb,  raised,  we  had  learned,  to 
his  memory  by  his  friend  Wilkes.  Arrived  at  the 
house  of  the  sexton,  he  led  us  to  a  ruined  church, 
passing  through  which  we  came  into  a  churchyard, 
where  children,  heedless  and  unconscious  of  what 
they  trampled  on,  sportively  ran  amid  the  raised  turf 
graves.  He  pointed  out  to  us  a  tombstone,  un- 
distinguished from  those  of  the  tradesmen  near  him, 
having  merely,  like  them,  a  square  tablet  stuck  into 
the  ground,  whereon  was  written,  "  Here  lie  the 
remains  of  the  celebrated  Churchill. 

"  Life  to  the  last  enjoyed,  here  Churchill  lies. 


[By  Churchill.]  The  green  turf  was  beginning  already 
to  decay  upon  his  tomb,  which  when  the  sexton  heard 
us  lamenting  he  assured  us  that  his  grave,  as  well  as 
the  rest,  would  be  newly  decked  as  soon  as  Nature 


had  vested  its  fullest  green — for  that  was  an  old  custom. 
Churchill  owed,  then,  only  to  a  common  hand  what 
the  pride  of  a  friend  refused — the  safety  of  his  burial- 
place.  Wilkes  only  sought  the  gratification  of  his 
vanity.  While  he  consigned  his  friend's  last  relics  to 
the  keeping  of  a  tablet,  he  consigned  his  own  pride  in 
such  a  friend  to  the  keeping  of  a  column  in  his  own 
grounds.  Yet  I  do  not  know  whether  the  scene  was 
not  more  moving,  though  no  vainly  pompous  inscrip- 
tion pointed  out  the  spot  where  this  poet  was  buried. 

There  were  two  authors ;  one,  the  most  distin- 
guished of  his  age ;  another,  whose  name  is  rising 
rapidly ;  (and  a  third,  ambitious  for  literary  dis- 
tinction). What  a  lesson  it  was  for  them  when, 
having  asked  the  sexton  if  he  knew  why  so  many 
came  to  see  this  tomb,  he  said  :  "  I  cannot  tell ;  I  had 
not  the  burying  of  him." 

[Byron,  after  settling  in  the  Villa  Diodati  near 
Geneva,  recorded  this  same  incident  in  a  composition 
entitled  ChurchilVs  Grave,  a  Fact  Literally  Rendered. 
He  wrote  a  memorandum  to  say  that  in  this  poem  he 
had  intentionally  imitated  the  style  of  Wordsworth, 
"its  beauties  and  its  defects."  The  composition 
therefore  is  essentially  un-Byronic  in  method,  and 
perhaps  Wordsworth  would  not  have  recognized  in 
it  many  of  his  own  "beauties."  The  Hues  are  as 
follows — 

DOVER  29 

I  stood  beside  the  grave  of  him  who  blazed 

The  comet  of  a  season,  and  I  saw 
The  humblest  of  all  sepulchres,  and  gazed 

With  not  the  less  of  sorrow  and  of  awe 
On  that  neglected  turf  and  quiet  stone, 
With  name  no  clearer  than  the  names  unknown 
Which  lay  unread  around  it.     And  I  ask'd 

The  gardener  of  that  ground  why  it  might  be 
That  for  this  plant  strangers  his  memory  task'd, 

Through  the  thick  deaths  of  half  a  century. 
And  thus  he  answered  :  '  Well,  I  do  not  know 
Why  frequent  travellers  turn  to  pilgrims  so  : 
He  died  before  my  day  of  sextonship, 

And  I  had  not  the  digging  of  this  grave.' 
And  is  this  all?  I  thought;  and  do  we  rip 

The  veil  of  immortality,  and  crave 
I  know  not  what  of  honour  and  of  light 
Through  unborn  ages,  to  endure  this  blight 
So  soon  and  so  successless  ?    As  I  said. 
The  architect  of  all  on  which  we  tread 
(For  earth  is  but  a  tombstone)  did  essay 
To  extricate  remembrance  from  the  clay 
Whose  minglings  might  confuse  a  Newton's  thought. 

Were  it  not  that  all  life  must  end  in  one, 
Of  which  we  are  but  dreamers.     As  he  caught 

As  'twere  the  twilight  of  a  former  sun, 
Thus  spoke  he  :  '  I  believe  the  man  of  whom 
You  wot,  who  lies  in  this  selected  tomb. 
Was  a  most  famous  writer  in  his  day; 
And  therefore  travellers  step  from  out  their  way 
To  pay  him  honour  ; — and  myself  whate'er 
Your  honour  pleases.'     Then  most  pleased  I  shook 
From  out  my  pocket's  avaricious  nook 
Some  certain  coins  of  silver,  which  (as  'twere 
Perforce)  I  gave  this  man— though  I  could  spare 
So  much  but  inconveniently.     Ye  smile 
(I  see  ye,  ye  profane  ones,  all  the  while) 


Because  my  homely  phrase  the  truth  would  tell. 
You  are  the  fools,  not  I  ;  for  I  did  dwell 
With  a  deep  thought  and  with  a  softened  eye 
On  that  old  sexton's  natural  homily, 
In  which  there  was  obscurity  and  fame — 
The  glory  and  the  nothing  of  a  name." 

Charles  Churchill  the  satirist,  a  clergyman  who 
had  given  up  his  standing  in  the  Church,  had 
died  in  1764  at  Boulogne,  aged  only  thirty-three. 
It  is  clear  that  his  renown  was  still  considerable 
in  1 8 16;  it  is  now  barely  more  than  a  literary 

We  then  returned  home,  where,  having  delivered 
my  play  into  their  hands,  I  had  to  hear  it  laughed  at 
— (an  author  has  always  a  salvo)  partly,  I  think, 
from  the  way  in  which  it  was  read.  One  of  the  party, 
however — to  smoothe,  I  suppose,  my  ruffled  spirits — 
took  up  my  play,  and  apparently  read  part  with 
great  attention,  drawing  applause  from  those  who 
before  had  laughed.  He  read  on  with  so  much 
attention  that  the  others  declared  he  had  never  been 
so  attentive  before. 

[Further  on  it  would  appear  that  this  play  was 
named  Cajetan.  I  know  nothing  about  it.  The  name 
Cajetan  is  in  Italian  Gaetano,  which  was  the  Christian 
name  of  Polidori's  father.] 

I  afterwards  went  out,  and  did  a  very  absurd  thing, 
which  I  told  ;  and  found  I  had  not  only  hurt  myself 


but  might  possibly  hurt  others  for  whom  I  cared 
much  more. 

April  26. — We  embarked  at  9  o'clock,  much 
hurried,  with  three  servants. 

[This  means,  to  judge  from  a  published  letter  by- 
Byron,  9  o'clock  on  the  evening  of  April  25.  The 
three  servants  were  Berger  (a  Swiss),  William 
Fletcher,  and  Robert  Rushton.  Mr.  Davies  and  Mr. 
Hobhouse,  it  will  be  understood,  remained  ashore.] 

When  at  a  distance,  we  waved  our  hands  and  hats, 
bidding  adieu.  The  wind  was  completely  in  our 
teeth,  but  we  made  the  passage  in  sixteen  hours. 
The  coast  of  Dover  is  very  striking,  though  miserably 
barren-looking.  The  cliff  is  steep,  though  not  such 
as  Shakespear  paints.  The  castle — at  a  distance, 
which  is  the  only  way  I  viewed  it — is  miserable. 
Sailing  from  England,  I  for  a  long  time  kept  my  eye 
upon  its  stern  white  cliffs,  thinking  on  her  who  bade 
me  join  her  remembrance  with  the  last  sight  of  my 
native  soil. 

[This  points  pretty  clearly  to  a  love-passage,  perhaps 
a  matrimonial  engagement.  As  a  fact  Polidori  never 
married.  The  lady  may  possibly  have  been  Eliza 
Arrow,  a  relative  in  India,  with  whom  he,  at  a  rather 
earlier  date,  had  interchanged  various  letters.] 

They  at  last  faded  from  my  sight,  and  all  on  board 
looked  dreary ;  the  sea  dashed  over  us,  and  all  wore 


an  aspect  of  grief.  Towards  night  a  most  beautiful 
spectacle  was  seen  by  myself,  who  alone  remained  on 
deck.  The  stars  shedding  merely  a  twilight  enabled 
me  to  see  the  phosphoric  light  of  the  broken  foam  in 
all  its  splendour.  But  the  most  beautiful  moment  was 
that  of  its  first  appearance  :  no  sound  around  save  the 
sullen  rushing  of  the  vessel,  and  the  hoarse  cries  of 
the  heaving  sailor ;  no  light  save  a  melancholy 
twilight,  which  soothed  the  mind  into  forgetfulness  of 
its  grief  for  a  while — a  beautiful  streak  following  the 
lead  through  the  waves.  We  arrived  at  Ostend  at 
2  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

[Polidori's  chronology  is  a  little  confusing  here.  If 
the  party  left  Dover  at  9  p.m.  on  April  25,  and 
took  sixteen  hours  in  the  sea-passage,  they  must  have 
reached  Ostend  at  i  in  the  afternoon.  There  is  also 
a  confusion  immediately  afterwards,  for  he  repeats 
the  date  for  which  he  has  already  accounted,  viz.] 

April  26. — We  passed  through  the  gates,  paying 
a  franc  a  head,  and  went  to  the  Cour  Imp^riale.  We 
were  astonished  at  the  excellent  inn  and  good  treat- 
ment, except  that  I  got  a  dreadful  headache  from 
the  smell  of  paint  in  my  bedroom,  and  that  the  tea 
was  perfumed. 

[It  was,  I  believe,  at  this  point  of  the  narrative  that 
my  aunt  Charlotte  Polidori  cut  out  a  peccant  passage. 
I  seem  to  remember  the  precise  diction  of  it,  which 


was  this  :  "  As  soon  as  he  reached  his  room,  Lord 
Byron  fell  like  a  thunderbolt  upon  the  chambermaid." 
Such  at  any  rate  was  the  substance  of  the  statement. 
The  other  statement  which  my  aunt  excluded  came 
somewhat  further  on,  when  Dr.  Polidori  was  staying 
near  Geneva.  He  gave  some  account  of  a  visit  of  his 
to  some  haunt  of  the  local  Venus  Pandemos.  I  think 
the  police  took  some  notice  of  it.  The  performance 
was  not  decorous,  but  was  related  without  any  verbal 

Arising  in  the  morning,  I  went  upon  a  stroll  round 
the  town.  Saw  little  girls  of  all  ages  with  head- 
dresses ;  books  in  every  bookseller's  window  of  the 
most  obscene  nature ;  women  with  wooden  shoes  ; 
men  of  low  rank  basking  in  the  sun  as  if  that  would 
evaporate  their  idleness.  The  houses  generally  good 
old  style,  very  like  a  Scotch  town,  only  not  quite  so 
filthy.  Very  polite  custom-house  officers,  and  very 
civil  waiters.  Fine  room  painted  as  a  panorama,  all 
French-attitudinized.  Went  into  a  shop  where  no  one 
spoke  French.  Tried  German  ;  half-a-dozen  women 
burst  out  laughing  at  me.  Luckily  for  myself,  in  a 
good  humour ;  laughed  with  them.  Obliged  to  buy 
two  books  I  did  not  want,  because  I  let  a  quarto  fall 
upon  a  fine  girl's  head  while  looking  at  her  eyes. 
Coaches  of  the  most  horrid  construction  ;  apparently 
some  fine  horses,  others  small.  Fortifications  look 


miserable.  Once  stood  a  fine  siege,  when  40,000  on  one 
side  and  80  on  the  other  fed  fowls  and  manured  the 
fields.  What  for?  For  religion?  No — for  money. 
There  was  the  spring  of  all.  As  long  as  only  religion 
and  rights  were  affected,  bigoted  religionists  and  wild 
republicans  were  alone  concerned  ;  but  a  step  too  far, 
and  all  was  ruined. 

[The  allusion  here  is  to  the  great  siege  of  Ostend, 
1 60 1  to  1604.] 

We  set  off  at  3,  with  four  horses.  Postillion  with 
boots  to  his  hips,  nankeens,  leather  hat  with  quaker 
brim,  only  neatly  rounded  with  black  riband  ;  a  blue 
and  red  coat,  joined  to  which  a  most  rascally  face,  with 
lips  that  went  a  few  lines  beyond  the  brijn  of  his  hat. 
A  dreadful  smacker  of  his  whip,  and  a  driver  of  four 
horses  from  the  back  of  one  of  the  hindermost.  We 
were  obliged  to  hire  a  caleche  to  send  with  our  lug- 
gage. The  rascal  made  us  pay  three  times  too  much 
at  each  of  his  barriers  ;  but,  after  having  (on  account 
of  the  horses  not  being  ready  at  the  next  post)  gone 
beyond  his  beat,  he  allowed  the  toll-keepers  to  be 
honest,  and  only  take  a  few  centimes  instead  of  a 
franc.  The  country  very  flat,  highly  cultivated  ;  sand, 
no  waste.  Roads  paved  in  the  middle,  with  trees  on 
each  side.  Country,  from  the  interspersion  of  houses, 
spires,  cottages,  etc.,  delightful ;  everything  comfort- 
able, no  appearance  of  discontent. 


We  got  out  of  our  carriage  at  a  place  where  the 
horses  ate  bread  and  hay,  and  walked  on  to  a  church- 
yard, where  we  found  no  tombstones,  no  funeral-pomp, 
no  flattering  eulogy,  but  simply  a  wooden  cross  at 
each  grave's  head  and  foot.  On  the  side  of  the  church- 
steeple,  at  a  little  height,  was  made  a  niche  wherein 
statues  formed  a  crucifixion,  as  an  object  to  excite 
reverence  and  adoration  of  God  in  every  passenger. 
We  passed  on,  and  arrived  at  Bruges  at  the  fall  of 
the  evening.  Our  passports  were  dispensed  with  on 
our  mentioning  that  we  were  not  stopping.  We 
entered  one  of  the  most  beautiful  towns  I  ever  saw ; 
every  house  seemed  substantial — had  some  ornament 
either  of  fretwork  or  lines — all  seem  clean  and  neat. 
We  stopped  at  the  post.  We  were  shown  into  the 
postmaster's  parlour  on  our  asking  for  something  to 
eat — well  furnished  —  better  even  than  a  common 
middleman's  house  in  London.  N.B. — Everywhere 
6  francs  for  a  bottle  of  Rhenish.  Women  generally 
pretty.  Flemish  face  has  no  divinity — all  pleasing 
more  than  beautiful — a  sparkling  eye  in  a  full  round. 
Their  pictures  of  every  age  have  the  mark  of  their 

As  we  went  from  Bruges,  twilight  softened  all  the 
beauty,  and  I  do  not  know  how  to  describe  the  feel- 
ing of  pleasure  we  felt  in  going  through  its  long  roof- 
fretted  streets,  bursting  on  to  spots  where  people  were 


promenading  amidst  short  avenues  of  trees.  We 
passed  on.  At  the  gates  I  saw  a  boy  with  sand  in 
his  hand  let  it  through  his  fingers  laughingly,  heed- 
less of  the  myriads  whose  life  hung  upon  each  sand. 
We  passed  on  at  lo.  We  came  to  a  village  where  we 
heard  the  sound  of  music.  The  innkeeper,  on  our 
enquiring  what  it  was,  asked  us  politely  in  to  hear  a 
concert  of  amateurs.  We  descended,  and  were  grati- 
fied and  surprised  at  hearing,  in  a  village  of  5000  souls, 
a  full  band  playing  difficult  though  beautiful  music. 
One  march  particularly  struck  us.  But  what  was 
our  surprise,  when  the  door  opened,  to  view  the 
group  :  none  apparently  above  the  rank  of  labourers, 
yet  they  met  three  times  a  week.  In  our  country  the 
amusement  is  to  reel  drunk  as  many.  There  was 
one  figure  manifestly  consumptive,  yet  he  was  blowing 
an  enormous  trombone. 

Within  a  few  miles  of  Gand,  I  was  wakened  from 
a  pleasant  fireside  in  England  by  my  companion  say- 
ing *•  They  have  lost  their  way  "  ;  and,  seeing  a  house 
near  me,  I  jumped  out  to  enquire,  when  to  my  great 
fear  I  saw  it  was  deserted.  I  immediately  suspected 
something,  and  went  back  for  a  pistol,  and  then 
thundered  at  the  door ;  no  one  came.  Looking 
round,  I  saw  other  houses  ;  towards  which  upon  my 
moving  the  postillion  got  off,  and,  telling  me  in 
French,  as  a  consolation,  that  he  could  not  under- 

GHENT  37 

stand  it,  went  with  me  towards  a  house  where  there 
was  light,  and  suddenly  ran  off.  I  immediately  went 
to  the  carriage,  and  we  gave  sabres  to  the  servants  ; 
when  he  ran  back  from  out  of  sight,  and  knocked 
again  at  the  door  and  roused  two,  who  told  us  the 
way.  By  the  by,  we  had  crossed  several  times  the 
bridge,  and  from  the  road  and  back  again,  whereas 
we  had  nothing  to  do  but  to  go  straight  on,  instead  of 
which  he  crossed  over  and  was  going  back  in  the 
direction  of  Bruges,  when  our  servant  stopped  him. 
I  cannot  explain  his  conduct ;  he  was  dreadfully 

We  arrived  at  Ghent  at  3  in  the  morning,  and 
knocked  some  time  at  the  gates,  but  at  last,  by  means 
of  a  few  francs,  got  through — passports  not  asked  for. 
Got  to  the  Hotel  des  Pays  Bas,  where  Count  Artois 
resided  while  at  Ghent.  We  were  ushered  into  a 
splendid  room,  got  excellent  Rhenish,  butter,  cheese, 
etc.,  and  went  to  bed. 

April  27. — At  Gand  Charles  the  1st  of  Spain  was 
born.  It  was  here  he  really  showed  the  insufficiency  of 
ambition  and  all  the  joys  of  manhood.  After  having 
at  Brussels  resigned  to  Philip  his  extensive  dominions, 
he  came  here,  and  enjoyed  many  days  while  passing 
over  the  scenes  of  his  youth,  which  neither  the  splen- 
dour attached  to  a  European  or  an  Indian  crown  nor 
to  the  conquests  of  his  powerful  and  noble  views  could 


efface.  He  did  not  seek  Pavia  ;  no,  it  was  at  Gand 
that  he  sought  for  his  last  draught  of  worldly  joy. 
The  town  was  worthy  of  it,  if  beauty  and  antiquity,  if 
riches  and  liberty  with  all  their  train,  could  render  it 
worthy  of  him.  This  town  has  all  the  beauty  ot 
Bruges,  but  more  extensive  :  finer  houses  perhaps, 
fine  cathedral,  fine  paintings,  fine  streets,  fine  canal. 
The  streets  are  perhaps  the  finest  I  have  seen  ;  not  so 
unpleasantly  regular  as  London,  not  so  high,  but  more 
rich  in  outside. 

We  visited  the  Cathedral ;  and,  after  having  been 
accustomed  to  the  tinselly  ornaments  of  our  Catholic 
chapels,  and  the  complete  want  of  any  in  the  Scotch 
and  English  churches,  we  were  much  pleased  with  the 
Cathedral's  inside  dress :  paintings  that  were  by  the 
hand  of  masters ;  the  fortune  of  a  bishop  expended 
in  building  the  part  near  the  altar  in  marble  and 
statues  not  contemptible,  united  with  the  airy,  high 
fretted  roof  and  little  light,  impressive  of  awe.  Under 
this  Cathedral  is  the  first  Belgian  church  that  was 
built  in  the  reign  of  Charlemagne,  800  years,  I  think, 
after  Christ.  It  is  low-roofed,  but  so  strong  it  bears 
the  weight  of  the  Cathedral  upon  it.  There  were 
several  paintings  preserved  in  it  (before  the  date  of 
oil-painting),  where  the  colours  are  mixed  with  white 
of  egg.  Some  curious  tombs,  where  the  different 
styles  are  evident.     In  the  earliest  tomb  some  of  the 

GHENT  39 

draperies  on  the  relief  are  in  a  bold  fine  style.  One 
of  the  earliest  has  a  bishop,  where  all  his  robes  are 
carved  out,  with  almost  the  threads  of  his  vest. 
Others,  however,  are  for  general  effect.  We  mounted 
450  steps  to  the  top  of  the  steeple;  whence  we  saw 
a  complete  horizon  of  plain,  canals,  intersecting  trees, 
and  houses  and  steeples  thrown  here  and  there,  with 
Gand  below  at  our  feet.  The  sea  at  a  distance,  bound 
by  the  hands  of  man,  which  pointed  "  So  far  shall  ye 
go  and  no  farther."  Bruges  held  in  the  horizon  its 
steeples  to  our  view,  and  many  hamlets  raised  from 
out  their  surrounding  wood  their  single  spires  to 

Treading  again  the  iron-plated  450  stairs,  we  came 
into  the  street ;  and,  mounting  into  a  fiacre,  we  went 
to  the  Ecole  de  Dessin,  where  we  found  a  well-provided 
gallery  of  paintings,  with  two  students,  unmoved  by 
the  visitors  around,  painting  with  the  patience  if  not 
the  genius  of  Dutch  masters.  They  were  rather  a 
nuisance  on  the  present  occasion,  as  one  covered  with 
his  machine  a  chef  d'oeuvre  of  Rubens,  the  St.  Rock 
amongst  the  Sick  of  the  Plague.  There  were  two  more 
by  the  same,  of  St.  Roch  and  his  Dog,  etc.  They 
were  in  a  different  style  of  colouring — sombre  and 
grey  ;  none  of  his  gay  draperies  that  I,  no  connoisseur, 
thought  were  constituents  of  Rubens.  I  saw — I  do  not 
remember  whose,  but — a  picture  that  struck  me  much, 


The  Beheading  of  St.  Jean^  where  all  the  interest  and 

beauty  consisted  in  a  dog  smelling  the  dead    body. 

There  were  two  of  Van  Eyck,  the  first  (according  to 

the  Flemish)  who  invented  painting  in  oil ;   where  the 

colouring  was  splendid  and  very  like  the  stiffness  of 

glass,  but   the   faces  were  very   good.     Kruger  had 

many  here  in  honour  of  Charles  the  Vth.     Amongst 

the  others,  one  rather  (though  probably  not  meant  as 

such)  satirical :  Charles,  landing,  takes  hold  of  Dame 

Africa,  who  quietly  points  to  a  lion  at  her  feet.    Query 

— to   drive   him    away  ?     There  was  a  Judgment  of 

Solomon  by  the  same,  where  the  child  was  painted 

dead  with  most  perfect  nature ;  so  much  so  that  my 

companion,  who  is  a  father,  could  not  bear  its  sight. 

Teniers  has  here  a  Temptation  of  St.  Anthony :  strange 

caricature — what  a  satire  !    If  mere  deceit  is  the  acme 

of  perfection,  some  Dutchmen  may  snatch  the  palm 

from  either  Apelles  or  Parrhasius.    They  paint  boards 

with  an  engraving  upon  them,  or  a  door,^  or  aught 

else,  so  inimitably  that  it  deceived  my  friend.     We 

went   into    the   Academy   of  Casts,   of  Design,  etc. 

There  are  generally  400  pupils  in  this  town  :  many 

fall  off  annually  without  great  advancement,  and  are 

trod  on  the  heels  by  others. 

1  The  word,  as  written  by  Charlotte  Polidori,  seems  to  be 
"  dole  "  rather  than  anything  else.  It  looks  as  if  she  had  copied 
the  form  of  Dr.  Polidori's  word  without  understanding  what  it 
was,     I  substitute  "  door,"  but  this  is  done  faute  de  mieux, 

GHENT  41 

We  thence  proceeded  to  another  (we  might  say) 
cathedral.  The  steeple  is  not  yet  finished  :  the  model 
is  exhibited,  with  the  curses  of  the  Flemish  exhibitors 
upon  the  "grande  nation  "  for  having  taken  the  funds 
for  its  finishing.  There  are  more  good  pictures  than 
even  in  the  Cathedral  :  the  columns  also  please  me 
more,  being  round,  with  a  Gothic  approach  to  Corinth- 
ian capital.  The  most  beautiful  painting  I  have  yet 
seen  is  here  (though  I  probably  shall  not  be  held  out 
in  my  opinion  by  connoisseurs) — by  Pollent,  repre- 
senting the  trial  of  the  true  Cross  upon  a  sick  lady. 
The  harmony  of  colouring,  the  soberness  (without 
the  commonly  accompanying  dulness)  of  the  colour- 
ing, the  good  design  and  grouping,  are,  in  my 
opinion,  beautiful.  Not  even  the  splendid  colouring 
of  Rubens  can  make  his  pictures,  in  my  eyes,  equal 
to  it. 

[I  do  not  know  who  is  the  painter  termed  Pollent 
by  Polidori :  on  p.  50  there  is  the  name  Polenck, 
which  may  designate  the  same  painter.  Neither  of 
these  names  can  be  traced  by  me  in  a  catalogue  of 
pictures  in  the  Museum  of  Antwerp.] 

There  is  one  standing  by  it,  of  Vandyck,  which  has 
some  sublimity  in  it,  perhaps  arising  from  indistinct- 
ness. It  represents  the  effect  of  Christ's  last  sigh.  By 
this  altar  stood  twelve  small  pictures,  hung  out  at  this 
time  for  people  to  tread  the  "  way  of  Calvary,"  repre- 


senting  the  different  stages  of  our  Saviour's  sufferings. 
There  were  many  more  pictures,  but  I  cannot  re- 
member ;  seeing  so  many  crowded  in  the  Gallery  put 
others  out  of  my  head.  But  there  were  painted  in  the 
Cathedral  of  St.  Bavon,  on  the  marble  in  the  style 
of  reliefs,  different  subjects  of  Scripture  in  a  most 
masterly  style  ;  and  so  well  were  the  shades  managed 
that  we  could  hardly  believe  the  cicerone  when  he 
assured  us  they  were  paintings. 

In  the  Gallery  of  Casts  there  were  the  statues  of 
two  English  ladies  of  London  by  an  artist  who  resided 
thirty  years  there,  and  upon  his  return  bestowed  these 
as  his  finest  works.  The  faces,  though  not  perfect  or 
Grecian,  I  must  say  for  my  countrywomen,  pleased 
me  almost  as  much  as  any  Venus  de'  Medici. 

I  have  found  the  people  polite,  so  far  as  showing 
the  way  and  then  not  waiting  for  a  reward — taking 
off  their  hats  as  if^ou  had  done  them  the  favour. 

April  28. — We  set  off  at  8  this  morning  to  go  to 
Anvers  ;  but,  after  having  proceeded  some  way,  one 
of  the  wheels  refused  to  turn,  and,  after  at  the  next 
village  hammering  a  long  while,  I  rode  off  in  a  passing 
caleche  to  Ghent,  where  I  put  a  marechal  with  his 
assistant  into  a  voiture,  and,  mounting  myself  on 
horseback,  returned  to  the  coach.  My  horse  was  par- 
ticularly fond  of  the  shade ;  and,  a  house  being  near 
one  of  the  barriers,  he  kindly  stopped  there  to  cool 

GHENT  43 

me.  I,  after  waiting  some  time,  began  to  press  him 
to  go  forward,  when  he  kicked  etc.  We  went,  while 
the  carriage  was  being  repaired,  into  a  cottage,  where 
all  was  extremely  neat,  and  we  saw  two  pictures  in 
it  that  certainly  would  not  shame  the  collection  of 
many  of  our  soi-disant  cognoscenti.  The  old  man 
was  sick  of  a  fever  ;  and,  upon  giving  him  medicine, 
his  kind  half  sympathetically  fell  ill  of  a  toothache. 
Never  did  I  see  such  chips  of  the  old  block  as  his  two 
daughters.  They  were  very  kind.  It  being  Sunday, 
we  saw  all  the  women  of  the  village — all  ugly  :  indeed, 
I  have  not  seen  a  pretty  woman  since  I  left  Ostend. 

[This  reference  to  April  28  as  being  a  Sunday  puts 
a  stop  to  any  preceding  question  as  to  the  right  day 
of  the  month,  for  in  fact  April  28, 18 16,  was  a  Sunday.] 

On  proceeding  on  our  journey,  we  were  stopped  for 
oul:  passports,  and  the  fellow  began  bullying  us,  think- 
ing we  were  French ;  but,  when  he  heard  we  were 
English,  he  became  cap  in  hand,  and  let  us  go :  in- 
deed, we  have  not  yet  shown  our  passports. 

Having  eaten,  I  issued  forth  in  search  of  the  Pro- 
menade, and  found  the  canal  with  walks  called  La 
Copeure.  Many  ladies,  all  ugly  without  exception — 
the  only  pretty  woman  being  fat  and  sixty.  It  very 
much  resembled  the  Green  Basin,  where  our  West-end 
cits  trot  on  one  another's  heels  with  all  possible  care  : 
not  quite  so  crowded.   Coming  back,  I  tourized  to  the 


Roi  d'Espagne,  where,  as  in  a  coffee-house,  I  found 
a  room  full  of  disreputable  women  and  card-tables. 
This,  instead  of  the  streets,  is  the  lounge  for  such 
women.  I  went  to  the  Cafe  Grand,  where  by  means 
of  mirrors  some  excellent  effects  are  produced. 
There  also  were  billiards,  cards,  dice,  etc.  A  cup  of 
coffee,  some  centimes  ;  a  glass  of  lemonade,  two  sous  : 
a  woman  presides  at  the  end  of  the  room. 

"  Lord  Byron  "  was  in  the  Ghent  Gazette.  Lord 
Byron  encouraged  me  to  write  Cajetan,  and  to  con- 
tinue being  a  tragedian.  Murray  offered  i^iSO  for 
two  plays,  and  ;^500  for  my  tour. 

April  29. — Looking  from  my  window,  I  saw  a 
native  dashing  about  in  a  barouche  and  four.  There 
is  in  the  town  a  society  of  nobles,  and  another  of 
literati.  Mr.  Scamp  has  a  fine  collection  of  pictures, 
which  I  did  not  see.  In  Ghent,  as  well  as  in  all  other 
places  where  I  have  been,  the  barber's  sign  is  Mam- 
brino's  helm.  On  the  Sunday  mornings  there  is  a 
market  for  flowers  in  pot  in  the  Place  des  Armes. 

We  set  off  at  11  in  the  morning,  and  passed 
through  some  fine  villages  :  one  of  which,  St. 
Nicholas,  the  mistress  of  the  inn  told  me  Buonaparte 
made  into  a  town — "  mais  il  n'y  a  pas  des  postes." 
The  country  is  tiresomely  beautiful.  Fine  avenues, 
which  make  us  yawn  with  admiration ;  not  a  single 
variation;    no    rising   ground — yes,  one    spot   raised 


for  a  windmill.  The  landscape  is  as  unchangeable 
as  the  Flemish  face.  The  houses  white-washed, 
with  a  row  of  trees  before  them  ;  the  roofs  tiled,  and 
the  windows  large.  Indeed,  the  appearance  of  com- 
fort in  the  places  we  have  passed  through  is  much 
greater  than  any  I  have  seen  in  England.  We 
have  only  seen  one  country-villa,  and  that  very  Eng- 
lish :  its  pasture  had  the  only  firs  we  have  yet  seen. 
The  avenues  are  sometimes  terminated  by  a  church 
or  a  house — the  church  very  ugly;  and  both  very 
tiresome,  as  they  always  prove  much  farther  off  than 
is  at  first  expected.  The  ground  cultivated,  and  with- 
out a  weed — no  waste  ground.  The  plough  moves  as 
if  cutting  water,  the  soil  is  so  light  a  sand.  Women 
work  in  the  fields  as  well  as  men.  No  more  difference 
is  found  in  the  face  of  the  inhabitants  than  in  the  face 
of  the  country.  Nothing  striking,  all  evenness,  no 
genius,  much  stupidity.  They  seemed  to  spend  all 
their  fund  of  cleanliness  upon  their  fields  and  houses, 
for  they  carry  none  about  them. 

An  oldish  man  wears  a  three-cornered  cocked  hat, 
capacious  breeches,  black  or  blue  stockings,  buckles, 
and  a  great-coat ;  young,  fancy  travelling-caps.  The 
women  wear  enormous  gold  ear-rings,  large  wooden 
shoes.  Their  dress  is  a  kind  of  bed-gown,  like  the 
Scotch.  Young  girls  of  eight  in  town  have  their  hair 
dressed   with  a    net  or  cap.     In  towns  and   villages 


the  better  peasant-women  wear  a  black  silk  mantle 
with  a  hood,  that  looks  well.  Multitudes  of  children 
everywhere,  who  tumble  and  run  by  the  side  of  the 
carriage  to  gain  a  few  centimes.  In  the  larger  villages 
the  market-places  are  splendidly  large,  with  a  little 
square  place  in  the  middle,  with  pollards  and  a  statue. 
The  houses  seem  comfortable  everywhere.  Going 
into  the  house  of  a  postmaster,  we  saw  some  English 
prints.  At  another,  our  servants  having  got  down 
and  comfortably  seated  themselves  to  a  bottle  of 
wine  etc.,  the  postmistress,  on  our  getting  out,  took 
us  for  the  servants,  and  told  us  "  the  messieurs  Anglais 
were  in  yon  room  " — and  then  made  us  a  thousand 
apologies.  At  every  posthorse  place  there  is  kept 
a  book  of  the  posts  :  many  barriers — every  \\  mile. 

At  Gand  they  had  told  us  we  could  not  reach 
Anvers  without  passing  the  Scheldt  at  2  o'clock — 
we  passed  it  at  6|. 

The  town  of  Antwerp  makes  a  good  figure  at  a 
distance,  chiefly  on  account  of  its  Cathedral,  which 
has  a  very  airy  appearance,  the  steeple  showing  the 
sky  between  its  meeting  arches.  About  five  steeples. 
The  fortifications,  which  enabled  Carnot  to  make  such 
a  defence,  produce  no  great  effect  on  the  sight. 

[The  defence  by  Carnot  was,  when  Polidori  wrote, 
a  quite  recent  event,  1814.] 

The  Scheldt  is  a  fine  river,   not  so  large   as   our 


Thames,  and  covered  with  ugly  Dutch  vessels.  We 
passed  our  coach  in  a  boat. 

[This  coach  was  a  formidable  affair.  According 
to  Mr.  Pryse  Lockhart  Gordon,  it  was  "copied  from 
the  celebrated  one  of  Napoleon  taken  at  Genappe, 
with  additions.  Besides  a  lit  de  repos,  it  contained  a 
library,  a  plate-chest,  and  every  apparatus  for  dining."] 

On  landing,  twenty  porters  ran  off  with  our  things 
to  a  cart.  As  they  were  passing,  one  in  all  the  pomp 
of  office  stopped  us,  and  asked  for  our  passports,  which 
(on  handing  to  him)  he  detained,  giving  his  directions 
to  the  police. 

The  older  parts  of  Antwerp  have  a  novel  and 
strange  effect  by  the  gable-ends  being  all  to  the 
street,  ornamented — very  acute  angles.  The  Place  de 
Meer  is  fine.  The  old  street,  the  finest  I  ever  saw, 
has  some  fine  houses.  Many  of  the  houses  have 
English  labels  on  them.  In  our  sitting-room  are  two 
beds.  Indeed,  the  towns  are  beautiful :  their  long 
streets,  their  houses  all  clean-stuccoed  or  white- 
washed, with  strange  old-fashioned  fronts,  the  frequent 
canals,  the  large  places  and  venerable  cathedrals. 
Their  places  are  much  finer  than  our  squares,  for  they 
contain  trees,  and  are  open  without  railing. 

Went  to  the  caf^,  and  saw  all  playing  at  dominoes. 
Read  The  Times  till  the  23rd.  Fine  furniture,  every- 
where of  cherry-tree. 


At  Gand  in  the  Cathedral  the  cicerone  laid  great 
stress  on  the  choir-seats  being  all  made  of  solid  acajou. 
The  master  of  the  inn  at  Ghent  assures  me  the 
carriage  of  Buonaparte  was  made  in  Paris — the  body- 
carriage  at  Brussels :  no  English  work.  Plenty  of 
Americans  in  the  town. 

April  30. — Got  up  late,  and  went  to  look  at  the 
carriage,  and  found  that  the  back  had  been  not  of  the 
best-made.  Called  a  mardchal,  who  assured  me  it 
could  not  be  better.  Breakfasted.  Then  looked  at 
an  old  caleche,  for  which  asked  60  naps.     Refused  it. 

Got,  with  a  guide,  a  caleche  to  see  the  lions.  The 
town  is  large :  apparently,  not  a  proportionable 
quantity  of  misery.  Women  better-looking.  At  all 
the  fountains.  Madonnas — and  upon  all  the  corners 
of  the  streets,  with  lamps  before  them.  Lamps  with 
reverberators  strung  on  ropes  into  the  middle  of  the 
streets.  Went  to  the  Cathedral.  Everywhere  we 
have  been,  dreadful  complaints  of  French  vandalism. 
In  this  chapel  it  has  been  shameless  :  once  crowded 
with  altars  of  marble,  now  there  are  about  five — only 
two  marble,  the  others  painted  in  imitation.  Pictures 
were  stolen — altars  sold  by  auction — only  one  saved, 
bought  by  a  barber  for  a  louis.  The  others,  with  all 
the  tombs,  monuments,  everything,  broken  by  these 
encouragers  of  the  fine  arts.  So  great  was  the  ruin 
that  there  were  five  feet  of  fragments  over  the  church 


— even  the  columns  that  support  the  roof  were  so 
much  defaced  that  they  were  obliged,  in  restoring  it, 
to  pare  them  all  much  thinner.  Some  pictures  were 
carried  to  Paris,  of  which  some  are  now  about  to  be 
replaced.  It  was  the  feast  of  St.  Anthony,  and  many 
candles  were  burning  about,  and  some  relics  were 
fixed  above  the  doors.  In  many  parts  of  the  chapel 
were  frames  containing  silver  representations,  very 
small,  of  bad  limbs  etc.,  offered  by  the  devout.  Many 
images  over  altars,  dressed  out  in  silk  and  taffeta  : 
most  common  one,  the  Virgin  Mary.  Though  the 
French  acted  with  all  the  spirit  of  Vandals  and  true 
Gauls,  yet  to  their  very  mischief  is  owing  the  greatest 
beauty  of  the  Cathedral,  the  choir  not  being  divided 
from  the  church,  so  that  from  one  end  to  the  other 
there  is  a  complete  perspective  and  one  of  the  finest 
effects  I  have  seen,  the  airiness  and  length  being  now 
proportionate.  There  is  one  great  defect  in  the  internal 
decorations — that  they  are  Greek.  What  bad  taste 
it  is  to  ornament  Gothic  with  Corinthian  columns 
must  be  evident :  to  make  it  also  more  glaring,  the 
marble  is  all  coloured.  There  is  here  a  fine  marble 
altar-railing.  Indeed,  in  all  the  churches  we  have 
here  seen  they  are  beautiful — especially  where  boys, 
called  in  Italian  "  puttini,"  are  sculptured.  The  con- 
fessionals are  of  wood,  with  evangelical  figures,  nearly 
as  large  as  life,  between  each  box — not  badly  carved. 


We  went  to  see  another  church,  wherein  is  the 
tomb  of  Rubens. 

[This  is  the  Church  of  St.  Jaques.] 

It  is  in  a  chapel  by  itself,  where  annually  a  mass 
is  said  for  his  soul.  It  is  worthy  of  him  :  ornamented 
by  a  painting,  by  himself,  of  St.  George,  and  a  statue 
he  brought  with  him  from  Rome  of  the  Holy  Virgin. 
The  church  in  which  he  is  buried  was  saved  from 
pillage  by  the  priests  belonging  to  it  revolutionizing. 
It  is  crowded  with  altars  and  pictures — some  Rubens, 
some  Polenck,  and  others.  There  is  a  painting  by 
Metsys,  who  originally  was  a  marechal,  and  who  with 
his  mere  hammer  formed  the  decorations  to  a  pump, 
which  are  not  bad.  The  Latin  inscription  on  his 
monumental  stone  refers  to  a  story  related  of  him : 
that,  upon  courting  the  daughter  of  Francis  Floris, 
the  artist  with  indignation  talked  about  the  dirty 
rascal's  impudence,  he  being  merely  a  blacksmith  ; 
on  which  Metsys  set  off  for  Rome,  and  upon  his 
return  asked  the  daughter  to  introduce  him  to  her 
father's  room  of  painting  :  where,  finding  a  picture 
not  finished,  he  painted  a  bee — that  excited  the  in- 
dignation of  Floris's  pocket-handkerchief,  and  gained 
him  his  daughter.  I  have  seen  the  picture,  and  it 
might  be  true.  The  pump  is  not  bad,  being  merely 
beaten  into  shape.  On  the  top  is  a  giant  who  used 
to  cut  off  merchants'  gains  by  means  of  tolls,  and 


their  hands  by  means  of  axes.  He  used  to  throw  an 
iron  band  into  the  scales  of  his  tradesmen ;  and  from 
thence,  'tis  said,  Antwerp  got  its  name. 

[This  may  be  "  said  "  :  but  a  less  legendary  deriva- 
tion of  the  Flemish  name  Antwerpen  is  "  aent  werf," 
or  "  on  the  wharf."] 

The  sides  of  this  church  all  along  are  lined  with 

In  the  Church  des  Augustins  we  saw  Rubens's 
Assembly  of  the  Saints^  from  Paris ;  where  he  has 
shown  how  weak  he  could  be  in  composition,  and  in 
vanity — for  it  is  the  third  picture  in  which  he  has 
put  himself  in  St.  George's  armour.  The  composition 
is  confused,  without  an  object  to  fix  the  attention. 
A  Vandyck  near  him  is  much  superior. 

[Polidori's  observations  about  Flemish  paintings 
are  generally  indicative  of  liking,  more  or  less :  but 
Byron  went  dead  against  them.  In  a  letter  of  his 
to  his  half-sister,  Mrs.  Leigh,  written  from  Brussels 
on  May  i,  1816,  we  find:  "As  for  churches  and 
pictures,  I  have  stared  at  them  till  my  brains  are 
like  a  guide-book  :  the  last  (though  it  is  heresy  to 
say  so)  don't  please  me  at  all.  I  think  Rubens  a 
very  great  dauber,  and  prefer  Vandyck  a  hundred 
times  over — but  then  I  know  nothing  about  the 
matter.  Rubens's  women  have  all  red  gowns  and 
red   shoulders ;   to   say   nothing  of  necks,  of  which 


they  are  more  liberal  than  charming.  It  may  all 
be  very  fine,  and  I  suppose  it  may  be  art,  for  'tis  not 
nature."  Again,  in  a  letter  to  John  Murray  from 
Milan,  October  15,  1816:  "The  Flemish  school, 
such  as  I  saw  it  in  Flanders,  I  utterly  detested, 
despised,  and  abhorred."] 

Here  is  also  the  famous  picture  of  Jordaens,  of  The 
Martyrdom  of  St.  Apollonia.  Colouring  approaches 
Rubens  ;  but  abominable  composition — crowded,  large, 
numerous  figures  in  a  small  space.  There  were  some 
modern  paintings  of  existing  artists — meagre  statue- 

In  the  Musee  we  saw  many  Rubenses.  The  famous 
Descent  from  the  Cross :  the  effect  of  the  white  sheet 
is  wonderfully  beautiful.  Picture's  drawing  I  do  not 
like.  The  Christ  seems  not  dead,  as  there  is  certainly 
action  ;  but  the  colouring  is  splendidly  rich.  The 
Crucifixion  near  it,  inferior  in  all.  In  a  sketch  near 
it  he  has  not  succeeded  so  well  in  the  white  sheet,  it 
being  not  so  splendidly  white.  We  could  only  see 
the  side-pieces  of  the  great  Crucifixion,  as  the  large 
piece  was  being  framed.  In  these  there  is  much 
caricature  drawing  :  a  woman  rising  from  the  dead— 
surely  a  woman  large  as  Guy  Warwick  giant's  wife, 
if  ever  he  had  one :  caricature  physiognomies,  and 
most  hellish  egregious  breasts,  which  a  child  refuses, 
with  horror  in  its  face.     His  horses  have  much  spirit — 


true  Flemish  size.  Indeed,  divest  Rubens  of  his  rich 
apparel,  and  he  is  a  mere  dauber  in  design.  There 
is  a  Mary  going  to  Elizabeth^  looking  more  like  a 
cardinal :  indeed,  my  companion,  Lord  Byron,  took 
her  for  one  of  the  red-vested  nobles.  No  divinity 
about  his  Christs ;  putrefaction  upon  his  Gods ;  ex- 
aggerated passion  about  his  men  and  women,  painted 
not  all-concealing.  In  his  picture  of  The  Adoration 
of  the  Magi,  query  did  he  not  intend  to  play  upon 
the  people  by  passing  off  a  caricature  for  a  religious 
painting?  The  royal  personage  in  green  seems  as  if 
his  eyes  had  grown  big  after  dinner.  He  has  no 
costume  properly  applied  :  the  Virgin  in  the  manger 
is  dressed  meretriciously  in  silks  and  lace.  Then 
look  at  our  blessed  Saviour  showing  His  wounds. 
His  finest  painting  is  his  Crucifixion  in  which  is  the 
white  sheet :  but  there  are  defects.  What  then  must 
be  the  power  of  colouring  which  causes  you  to  view 
his  paintings  with  pleasure !  It  is  like  melodious 
music  which  makes  you  forget  the  absurd  words  of 
an  old  English  song. 

Vandyck,  in  my  opinion,  was  much  superior  to 
Rubens.  His  colouring,  near  his,  is  sombre ;  but 
then  his  design  is  more  perfect,  his  impressions 
remain  longer  in  the  mind  distinct,  and  do  not  fade 
away  into  ideas  of  red  and  blue  round  white.  A 
little    Crucifix  of    his    is   worth    his    rival's    largest 


paintings.  His  Christ  Dead  is  beautiful,  wherein  are 
contained  the  Blessed  Virgin,  St.  Mary  Magdalene, 
and  St.  John  weeping:  the  different  expressions  of 
grief,  the  unison  of  colouring  with  the  subject,  the 
composition,  all  excellent. 

From  the  Cathedral  we  went  to  see  the  works 
of  Napoleon.  We  first  saw  the  Basins.  They  are 
not  so  large  as  our  West  India  Docks — square — but 
are  capable  of  holding  ships  of  the  line;  there  are 
two.  Between  them  is  what  was  formerly  the 
Hanseatic  Hall,  now  magazines.  When  the  English 
were  last  here  they  threw  bombs,  but  this  was  of  no 
avail ;  dung  was  put  upon  the  ships,  and  men  were 
at  hand  in  case  of  fire.  From  the  Basins  we  went 
along  the  quays — very  long,  along  the  labouring 
Scheldt ;  then  into  the  places  for  marine  arsehals, 
where  the  vessels  were  on  the  stocks — the  finest  works 
I  ever  saw,  now  useless  through  our  jealousy.  The 
rope-house,  quite  finished,  is  enormously  long,  and  is 
to  be  pulled  down.  The  timbers  for  the  ship  were 
numbered,  and  carried  to  Amsterdam.  The  citadel 
was  mean-looking,  though  so  strong.  The  chief 
batteries  are  as  old  as  Alva's  time — there  was  one 
pointed  out  as  erected  by  Colonel  Crawford.  Before 
Napoleon's  time  there  was  little  done  towards  the 
formation  of  these  basins  and  others  ;  but,  said  our 
guide,  "he  decreed  they  should  be  made,  and  they 


appeared."  They  are  all  surrounded  with  high  walls 
to  hinder  the  escape  of  the  employed.  Carnot  has 
commanded  here  twice.  He  was  rather  disliked,  yet 
they  had  rather  have  him  than  any  other.  They  all 
agree  in  his  genius.  In  the  time  of  the  Walcheren 
business  the  English  were  expected  with  open  arms : 
only  three  hundred  soldiers — Bernadotte  was  general. 
The  siege  was  not  very  strict  on  the  last  occasion, 
and  no  mischief  was  done  on  either  side.  In  the 
Basins  there  have  been  twenty-six  line.  In  the  dread 
of  a  siege  all  the  suburbs  were  destroyed  and  all  the 
trees  around.  The  suburbs  rose  immediately,  the 
trees  in  years.  In  the  citadel  there  are  1500  forgats. 
Sometimes  the  number  exceeds  2000. 

Having  seen  thus  much,  we  returned,  lunched,  and 
rode  off.  Hardly  gone  a  little  way  when  our  carriage 
broke  down.  The  trees  are  more  various — vegetation 
more  advanced — more  inequality  of  ground — more 
pollards — more  apparent  misery — more  villas,  some 
pretty — more  clipped  hedges — more  like  England — 
fine,  large,  town-like  villages.  Carriage  broke  again — 
walked  to  Malines — arrived  there  at  ten.  Women 

At  Antwerp,  in  one  church  on  the  outside,  saw  a 
supposed  exact  imitation  of  the  Sepulchre,  though  I 
do  not  know  how  it  came  seated  "  in  purgatory  "  ;  as 
there  certainly  is  a  place  so  called  round  it,  full  of 


the  damned  and  flames.  The  place  is  grotto-work. 
Within  there  is  a  representation  of  our  Lord  swathed 
in  linen.  All  over  there  are  statues,  so  so.  David  is 
at  a  respectable  distance  from  purgatory :  this  makes 
it  the  more  remarkable  that  the  Sepulchre  is  seated 
in  purgatory.     Indeed,  indeed,  there  is  much  absurdity. 

There  is  an  academy  for  drawing  and  painting, 
with  a  museum.     The  Place  is  in  a  garden. 

On  arriving  at  Malines  we  found  Mr.  Pradt  gone 
from  his  bishopric  amongst  his  brethren  ;  and  we  are 
assured  he  was  a  "  vraiment  frangais,"  and  that  he 
was  not  a  "  Catholique,"  and  that  this  town  wanted  a 
"  vraiment  Catholique." 

[The  Abb^  de  Pradt,  born  in  Auvergne  in  1759, 
had  been  a  champion  of  the  monarchy  in  the  Con- 
stituent Assembly  of  1789-91.  Napoleon  made  him 
Archbishop  of  Malines  towards  1809,  but  afterwards 
viewed  him  with  disfavour.  He  resigned  the  Arch- 
bishopric in  1 8 16,  receiving  a  pension.  He  wrote  a 
number  of  books  on  political  and  public  matters,  and 
died  in  1837.] 

The  country  from  Antwerp  to  Malines  becomes 
more  and  more  like  England  :  trees  more  various, 
not  the  same  dead  flat  but  varied  with  gentle  swells, 
many  pollards,  and  more  miserable  cottages. 

There  is  in  the  Cathedral  [in  Antwerp]  a  painting 
by  Floris — the  one  on  which  is  the  bee — where  he  has 


shown  great  imagination  and  fire  in  the  devils.  It  is 
the  victory  of  the  angels  when  fighting  against  the 

Maj/  I. — As  soon  as  up,  I  went  to  the  Cathedral, 
which  has  a  fine  tower.  On  entering  I  saw  many 
pictures.  None  that  I  saw  seemed  particularly  good. 
The  church  was  pretty  full  of  people,  who  really 
seemed  devout.  They  were  not  the  old  and  weak, 
but  there  was  of  every  age.  The  young  maiden  was 
seen  by  the  side  of  decrepit  age,  beauty  by  deformity, 
childhood  by  manhood.  The  effect  on  the  mind  is 
contagious.  Many  masses  were  going  on  at  the 
same  time.  A  woman  went  round  for  money  for  the 
chairs.     Here  I  saw  the  first  Christian  caryatides. 

We  soon  set  off  for  Brussels.  Between  V.  and 
that  town  the  road  is  beautiful  ;  a  canal  on  one  side, 
fine  trees  forming  a  long  avenue  diversified  with 
glimpses  of  a  rich  country.  We  passed  the  Castle  of 
Lac,  the  former  residence  of  Buonaparte.  It  has  a 
fine  front  upon  an  eminence,  but  the  dome  stands 
forth  in  glaring  ugliness.  We  entered  Brussels  by 
the  Allee  Verte,  a  fine  promenade. 

Brussels,  the  old  town,  is  not  so  fine  as  Antwerp, 
Ghent,  or  Bruges.  The  Grand  Marche  is  very  beauti- 
ful, only  the  buildings  seem  to  be  neglected.  Fine 
public  offices,  with  a  tall  spire,  on  one  side — the  Mairie 
opposite.     The  Place  Royale  is  very  fine  ;  the  fronts 


of  the  houses  and  hotels  around  seeming  together 
to  form  parts  of  one  great  palace ;  and  the  church  on 
one  side,  with  the  housy  wings,  has  a  fine  effect  in 
spite  of  the  ugly  tower  at  the  top.  The  gardens  are 
beautiful  with  green,  and  well  laid  out  in  walks, 
with  groups  and  termites — the  Palace  opposite.  The 
entrance  from  the  Place  Royale  presents  a  fine  front, 
and  the  suburbs  round  it  are  also  good.  We  are  at 
the  Hotel  d'Angleterre.  Saw  Morning  Chronicles, 
which  are  again  dutysied. 

Brussels  was  not  at  all  fortified  in  the  Waterloo 
time.  The  Germans  at  one  time  had  retreated  as  far 
as  the  gates,  which  were  obliged  to  be  shut  against 
them.  In  case  of  a  retreat  there  would  have  been  a 
pleasant  rush,  almost  as  great  as  at  a  fashionable 
rout,  as  they  must  all  have  passed  through  Brussels. 
The  carriage  was  put  under  hand.  Crowds  of 

May  2. — We  have  seen  many,  many  soldiers.  No 
wonder  they  were  light  of  foot  when  not  more  heavy 
of  age,  for  none  have  beards  yet  except  some  few 

The  English  women  are  the  only  good-looking 
women  in  Brussels  ;  though,  with  true  English 
Bullism,  they  vest  here  a  complete  Anglomanian 
costume,  preserving  their  French  fashions  for  the 
English  winds  to  waft.     The  women  of  Brabant  and 


the  Netherlands  are  all  ugly  to  the  eye  after  the 
piquant  begins  to  pall,  for  there  are  no  regular 
beauties  or  beauty  of  expression,  except  that  levity 
which  tells  of  lightness  of  cares  and  youth. 

It  is  not  for  a  foreigner  to  call  a  thing  absurd 
because  it  does  not  tally  with  his  ideas,  or  the 
ladies'  costume,  except  the  black  mantle,  should  be 
put  down  as  such  by  me.  The  men  also  are  short 
and  bad-looking,  either  consummate  impudence 
or  complete  insignificance — no  individuality.  The 
indelicacy  of  these  Belgians  is  gross ;  all  kinds  of 
disgusting  books  publicly  sold,  and  exposed  to  the 
eyes  of  all  young  damsels — beastliness  publicly 
exhibited  on  the  public  monuments — fountains  with 
men  vomiting  with  effort  a  stream  of  water — and 
still  worse.  The  town  (Brussels)  is  situated  on  an 
eminence,  and  is  really  poor  in  comparison  of  the 
other  Belgic  towns  by  us  seen. 

After  dinner,  having  dressed,  I  went,  having  written 
two  letters,  to  the  theatre.  Mounting  a  voiture,  I  was 
soon  there.  Ascending  some  stairs,  I  came  to  a  door 
where,  after  some  knocking,  a  man  took  my  money, 
and  gave  me  tickets,  which,  changed  twice,  brought 
me  to  the  first  row  of  boxes.  The  first  look  at  the 
lobbies  was  sufficient  to  give  me  an  idea  of  all  the 
rest — misery,  misery,  misery,  wherever  one  turned — 
to  the  floor,  to  the  ceiling,  to  the  wall,  to  the  box- 


wall,  all  garret  of  the  St.  Giles  style.  Most  of  the 
doors  had  Abonnement  written  on  them.  I  got  into 
one,  and  what  a  sight !  boxes  dirty  with  filth.  One 
chandelier  was  sufficient  for  the  pockets  of  a  Brussels 
manager,  hung  from  the  middle.  Pit  divided  into 
two  parts  of  different  prices,  boxes  into  three, 
and  a  gallery.  Chairs,  not  benches,  in  the  boxes. 
Ladies  came  and  sat  and  talked,  and  talked  and  sat 
and  stood,  and  went  away.  Many  English  ladies. 
Orchestra  began — all  violins,  seven  in  all.  Curtain 
up — a  farce :  no — it  did  not  make  me  laugh.  How 
call  that  a  theatrical  amusement  which  only  seems 
fitted  to  excite  the  pleasurable  sensation  of  yawn- 
ing? It  was  French.  An  actress,  the  best  amongst 
them,  spoke  French  like  a  base  pig;  another  con- 
torted the  fine  lady  into  one  with  a  paralytic  stroke 
after  sitting  up  at  cards  ;  the  gentlemen  like  purlieu- 
bullies;  and  high  life  was  copied  from  the  waiting- 
maids  of  butchers'  ladies.  I  was  a  little  surprised  at 
the  applause  that  a  lady  actress  gained.  It  moved 
me  astonishingly :  not  her  acting,  but  the  lookers-on 
acting  pleasure.  At  last  came  the  wind  whistling 
through  the  reeds,  the  thunder-hurling  cheeks,  and  lash- 
ing hands,  to  my  great  admiration.  It  moved  phlegm. 
One  who  was  to  act  Blondel  was  vomiting  at 
home.  I  went  behind  the  scenes,  and  saw  dismay  in 
every  face,  and  terror  in  every  limb.  The  curtain 
drew  up,  and  the  play  began.     Hisses   hisses,  hisses. 


It  fell,  and  fear  increased.  Some  time  was  spent 
in  cogitation.  The  venturous  gold-decked  hero 
advanced,  retired,  was  rebuked  by  the  police  and 
forced  to  advance.  Hisses.  He  said  to  the  audience 
he  was  forced  to  advance.  They  listened,  and  qui- 
proquos  commenced  between  the  players  and  the 
audience,  with  the  sonorous  hiss  of  anger.  The  police 
saw  all  was  in  vain,  and  ordered  the  actors  off  the 
boards.  I  in  the  meantime  was  chatting  with  two 
apparent  goddesses,  who  very  concisely  explained  the 
trembling  of  the  actors,  etc.,  by  telling  me  of  real 
showers  of  eggs,  etc.  As  I  left  the  house  I  heard 
groans  and  hollow  sounds,  and  cries  of  "Give  me  back 
my  money  :  I  am  an  abonne\  and  have  seen  nothing." 
I  ran — I  and  the  police  pushing  on,  the  mob  pushing 
us  back,  etc.  Going  along  the  lobbies,  what  was  my 
wonder  to  stumble  on  a  bookseller's  shop,  where  was 
an  assemblage  of  delicacies  fit  for  the  modest,  and 
wondrous  delicate  ! 

May  3. — I  saw  in  the  street  three  dogs,  of  the  bull- 
dog race,  dragging  up  a  hill  at  a  good  pace  what  I 
am  sure  two  men  would  not  have  strength  to  drag. 
I  saw  also  a  goat  fastened  to  a  child's  car.  I  went 
all  over  the  town  for  a  caleche — bought  one  for 
75  louis.  In  the  evening,  having  procured  redingotes 
(which  I  did  not  use),  we  mounted  a  coach  and  drove 
to .     Returned  home,  ate,  and  slept. 

May  4. — Having  risen,  foolishly  paid  40  naps,  to 


the  coachmaker.  My  Lord  and  servant  stepped  into 
the  caleche.  I  and  a  servant  got  on  horseback,  and 
went  to  Waterloo.  We  soon  entered  Soignies,  which 
on  both  sides  formed  a  beautiful  wood  (not  forest,  for 
it  was  not  wild  on  either  side)  for  several  miles.  The 
avenue  it  formed  varied  in  length  :  sometimes  the  end 
was  formed  by  a  turn  of  the  road,  sometimes  by  the 
mere  perspective  effect  of  narrowing.  The  trees  are 
all  young — none  of  above  thirty  years'  growth.  We 
then  reached  Waterloo,  where  were  the  head-quarters 
of  Napoleon.  An  officious  host  pressed  us  to  order 
dinner.  We  ran  from  his  pressing,  and  advancing 
came  to  St.  Jean,  where  the  boys  continued  the  offer- 
ings we  first  had  at  Waterloo  of  buttons,  books,  etc. 
This  was  the  village  which  gave  the  French  name  to 
the  battle,  I  believe,  as  it  was  the  spot  which  Napo- 
leon tried  to  gain.  The  view  of  the  plain,  as  we 
advanced  to  the  right,  struck  us  as  fields  formed 
almost  with  the  hopes  that  spirit  and  war  would  make 
their  havoc  here.  Gentle  risings,  sufficient  to  give 
advantage  to  the  attacked — few  hedges — few  trees. 
There  was  no  sign  of  desolation  to  attract  the  passer- 
by ;  if  it  were  not  for  the  importunity  of  boys,  and 
the  glitter  of  buttons  in  their  hands,  there  would  be 
no  sign  of  war.  The  peasant  whistled  as  blithely, 
the  green  of  Nature  was  as  deep,  and  the  trees  waved 
their  branches  as  softly,  as  before  the  battle.     The 


houses  were  repaired.  Only  a  few  spots  with  white 
plaster  between  the  bricks  pointed  out  the  cannon's 
ruin  ;  and  in  ruins  there  was  only  Hougoumont,  which 
was  attacked  so  bravely  and  defended  so  easily — at 
least  so  I  should  imagine  from  the  few  killed  in  the 
garden  and  the  appearance  of  the  whole,  while  so 
many  French  lay  dead  in  the  field.  In  the  garden 
were  only  25  English  killed,  while  in  the  field  15CX); 
and  on  the  other  side  600  French,  not  counting  the 
wounded,  were  slain.  Indeed,  the  gallantry,  the 
resolution  and  courage,  which  the  French  displayed 
in  attacking  this  place,  guarded  from  the  heights  by 
our  cannon,  and  by  our  soldiers  through  the  loop- 
holes, would  alone  ennoble  the  cause  in  which  they 
fought.  Before  arriving  at  Hougoumont,  the  spots 
where  Hill,  Picton,  and  the  Scotch  Greys  did  their 
several  deeds,  were  pointed  out  to  us.  The  spot 
which  bore  the  dreadful  charge  of  cavalry  is  only 
marked  by  a  hedge.  The  cuirassiers  advancing,  the 
Scots  divided — showed  a  masked  battery,  which  fired 
grape  into  the  adverse  party's  ranks — then  it  was  the 
Scots  attacked.  I  do  not  now  so  much  wonder  at 
their  victory.  The  cuirasses  which  we  saw  were  almost 
all  marked  with  bullets,  lance-  and  sabre-cuts.  Buona- 
parte and  the  French,  our  guide  said,  much  admired 
the  good  discipline  and  undaunted  courage  of  the 
short-kilted  Scot.     Going  forward,  the  spot  at  which 


the  Prussians,  the  lucky  gainers  of  the  battle,  emerged, 
was  pointed  out  to  us — and,  a  little  farther  on,  we 
were  shown  the  spot  where  Colonel  Howard,  my 
friend's  cousin,  was  buried  before  being  carried  to 
England.  Three  trees,  of  which  one  is  cut  down, 
mark  the  spot,  now  ploughed  over.  At  Hougoumont 
we  saw  the  untouched  chapel  where  our  wounded 
lay,  and  where  the  fire  consumed  the  toes  of  a 
crucifix.  We  there  inscribed  our  names  amongst 
cits  and  lords.  We  found  here  a  gardener  who 
pointed  out  the  garden — the  gate  where  the  French 
were  all  burnt — the  gap  in  the  hedge  where  the 
French  attempted,  after  the  loss  of  1500  men,  to 
storm  the  place — the  field,  quarter  of  an  acre,  in 
which  were  heaps  of  Gallic  corpses.  The  gardener 
and  the  dog,  which  we  saw,  had  been  detained  at 
Hougoumont  by  General  Maitland  in  case  of  a 
retreat.  The  peasants  declare  that  from  4  to  5 
the  affair  was  very,  very  doubtful,  and  that  at  the  last 
charge  of  the  Imperial  Guards  Napoleon  was  certain 
of  being  in  Brussels  in  quatre  heures,  Wellington, 
after  the  defeat  of  the  Prussians  etc.,  on  the  17th 
went  to  Waterloo,  and  determined  where  he  would 
place  each  corps.  This  was  a  great  advantage  :  but, 
in  spite  of  the  excellence  of  his  position,  he  would 
certainly  have  been  defeated  had  it  not  been  for  the 
fortunate  advance  of  the  Prussians.     From  Hougou- 


mont  we  went  to  the  red-tiled  house  which  is  the 

rebuilding  of  the  house  where  was  Buonaparte's  last 

station  and  head-quarters.    It  was  from  this  spot  that 

he  viewed  the  arrival  of  the  Prussians,  under  the  idea 

of  their  being  the  corps  of  Grouchy.     It  was  here  he 

felt  first  the  certainty  of  defeat,  just  after  he  had  led 

the  old  Imperial  Guard,  in  the  certainty  of  victory,  to 

his  last  attack.     La   Belle  Alliance   next  appeared 

along  the  road,  here  where  Wellington  and  Blucher 

met.     The  name  is  derived  from  a  marriage  in  the 

time  of  peace  :  it  is  now  applicable  to  a  war-meeting. 

Thence  we  returned  to  St.  Jean,  after  going  again  to 

Hougoumont.   There  we  were  shown  cuirasses,  helms, 

buttons,    swords,   eagles,    and   regiment-books.     We 

bought  the  helms,  cuirasses,  swords,  etc.,  of  an  officer 

and  soldier  of  cuirassiers,  besides  eagles,  cockades, 

etc.     Beggars,  the   result   of  English   profusion.     A 

dinner,  measured  by  some  hungry  John  Bull's  hungry 

stomach.     We    rode    off  the    field,   my    companion 

singing   a   Turkish   song — myself  silent,  full   gallop 

cantering  over  the  field,  the  finest  one  imaginable 

for  a  battle.     The  guide  told   us   that   the  account 

Buonaparte's  guide  gave  of  him  after  the  battle  was 

that   he  only  asked   the  road   to    Paris,  not   saying 

anything  else. 

At  Hougoumont  various  spots  were  pointed  out : 
amongst    the    rest   the    one   where    Maitland   stood 


watching  a  telegraph  on  the  neighbouring  rise,  which 
told  him  what  was  going  on  on  both  sides. 

We  rode  home  together  through  Soignies  forest 
— black.  The  twilight  made  the  whole  length  of  the 
road  more  pleasing.  On  reaching  home,  we  found 
the  coach  was  jogged ;  so  much  so  that  it  would  not 
allow  us  to  put  confidence  in  it,  etc.  At  last  we  gave 
it  into  Mr.  Gordon's  hands.  My  friend  has  written 
twenty-six  stanzas  (?)  to-day — some  on  Waterloo. 

[There  are  a  few  points  in  this  narrative  of  May  4 
which  call  for  a  little  comment. 

1.  As   to   "  the   spot   where  Colonel  Howard,  my 

friend's  cousin,  was   buried  before  being  carried  to 

England."     Few  passages  in  the  3rd  canto  of  Childe 

Harold,   which   in   its   opening    deals    with    Byron's 

experiences  in  these  days,  are  better  known  than  the 

stanzas  (29  to  31)  where  he  celebrates  the  death  of 

"  young  gallant  Howard."     Stanza  30  is  the  one  most 

germane  to  our  immediate  purpose — 

"There  have  been  tears  and  breaking  hearts  for  thee, 
And  mine  were  nothing,  had  I  such  to  give. 
But,  when  I  stood  beneath  the  fresh  green  tree 
Which  living  waves  where  thou  didst  cease  to  live, 
And  saw  around  me  the  wide  field  revive 
With  fruits  and  fertile  promise,  and  the  Spring 
Come  forth  her  work  of  gladness  to  contrive, 
With  all  her  reckless  birds  upon  the  wing, 
I  tum'd  from  all  she  brought  to  those  she  could  not  bring." 

2.  The  statement  that   "the   coach   was  jogged" 


refers  to  that  caleche  which  had  been  just  bought  in 
Brussels  for  the  servants — not  to  the  elaborate  travel- 
ling-carriage. Some  trouble  ensued  over  the  caliche. 
The  coachmaker  who  had  sold  it  tried  to  make  Lord 
Byron  pay  up  the  balance  of  the  price.  Not  carrying 
his  point,  he  got  a  warrant-officer  to  seize  a  different 
vehicle,  a  chaise,  belonging  to  the  poet.  The  latter, 
so  far  as  appears,  took  no  further  steps. 

3.  To  write  twenty-six  stanzas  in  one  day  is  no 
small  feat ;  especially  if  these  are  the  nine-line  stanzas 
of  Childe  Harold,  and  if  the  substantial  work  of  the 
day  consisted  in  riding  from  Brussels  to  Waterloo 
and  back,  and  deliberately  inspecting  the  field  of 
battle.  The  entry,  as  written  by  Charlotte  Polidori, 
stands  thus — "  26  St.,"  which  I  apprehend  can  only 
mean  "stanzas."  If  one  were  to  suppose  that  the 
stanzas  thus  written  on  May  4  were  the  first  twenty- 
six  stanzas  of  Childe  Harold,  canto  3  (but  this  of 
course  is  not  a  necessary  inference),  Byron  now  got 
up  to  the  stanza  which  begins 

"And  wild  and  high  the  'Camerons'  gathering'  rose."] 

I  made  up  my  accounts,  and  was  not  a  little  startled 
by  a  deficit  of  10  napoleons,  which  I  at  last  found 
was  a  mere  miscalculation.  Rode  about  thirty  miles 
in  all. 

Forgot  to  say  I  saw  Sir  Nath[aniel]  Wraxall  at 


Dover,  who,  having  introduced  himself  to  Lord  Byron 
as  a  friend  defamille,  began  talking,  knocking  his  feet 
in  rattattat,  still  all  the  while  oppressed  by  feeling 
very  awkward. 

[I  do  not  find  in  Byron's  correspondence  any  refer- 
ence to  this  interview,  on  April  25  or  26,  with  Sir 
Nathaniel  Wraxall.  But,  in  his  letter  of  April  25  to 
his  half-sister,  he  mentions  that  he  met  on  the  24th 
with  Colonel  Wildman,  an  old  school-fellow,  and  later 
on  the  purchaser  of  Newstead  Abbey,  who  gave  him 
some  details  concerning  the  death  of  Colonel  Howard 
at  Waterloo.] 

At  Brussels,  the  people  were  in  a  great  stew,  the 
night  of  the  battle  of  Waterloo — their  servants  and 
others  waking  them  every  minute  to  tell  them  the 
French  were  at  the  gates.  Some  Germans  went  there 
with  mighty  great  courage,  in  flight.  Lord  W[elling- 
ton?]  sent  to  a  colonel  to  enquire  whether  he  was 
going  to  fly  from  or  to  the  battle,  giving  him  his 
choice  to  act  in  either  way.  On  hearing  this,  the  said 
colonel  boldly  faced  about,  and  trotted  to  Brussels 
with  his  troop.  A  supernumerary  aide-de-camp,  the 
brother  of  N.,  with  two  others,  was  riding  between 
the  ranks  while  the  French  were  firing ;  when,  ours 
crying  out  "  They  aim  at  you,"  all  three  were  struck 
in  the  jaw,  much  in  the  same  place,  dead.  After  the 
battle,  a  friend  asking  what  was  become  of  N.,  the 


Serjeant  pointed  to  his  feet,  saying  "  There,"  which 
was  fact.  Dacosta,  the  guide,  says  that  Buonaparte 
was  cool  and  collected  till  the  Prussians  arrived  ;  that 
then  he  said  to  Bertrand,  "  That  appears  to  be  the 
Prussian  eagle  " ;  and,  upon  Bertrand's  assenting,  his 
face  became  momentarily  pale.  He  says  that,  when 
he  led  up  the  Imperial  Guard,  on  arriving  at  the  red- 
tiled  house,  he  went  behind  a  hillock,  so  as  not  to  be 
seen,  and  so  gave  them  the  slip.  Wellington  acted 
the  soldier  when  he  should  have  acted  the  general, 
and  the  light-limbed  dancer  when  he  should  have 
been  the  soldier.  I  cannot,  after  viewing  the  ground, 
and  bearing  in  mind  the  men's  superior  courage,  give 
Wellington  the  palm  of  generalship  that  has  been 
snatched  for  him  by  so  many  of  his  admirers. 
Napoleon  only  took  one  glass  of  wine  from  the 
beginning  of  the  battle  to  the  end  of  his  flight. 

May  5. — Got  up  at  ten  from  fatigue.  Whilst  at 
breakfast,  there  came  a  Mr.  Pryse  Gordon  for  L[ord] 
B[yron].  I  entertained  him.  He  has  been  to  Italy, 
and  travelled  a  great  deal — a  good-natured  gentle- 
man. Took  him  to  see  the  carriage  :  there  he  intro- 
duced me  to  his  son  by  means  of  a  trumpet.  After 
his  departure  we  set  off  for  the  Chateau  du  Lac, 
where  we  found  the  hind  front  much  finer  than  the 
other  for  want  of  the  startling  (?)  dome  and  low- 
windows.     It  has  all   its  master-apartments  on  the 


ground-floor:  they  are  extremely  well  laid  out  both 
with  regard  to  comfort  and  magnificence — they  were 
furnished  by  Nap[oleon].  We  saw  the  bed  where 
Josephine,  Marie  Louise,  and  the  Queen  of  Holland, 
have  been  treading  fast  on  one  another's  heels.  The 
hall  for  concerts  divides  the  Emperor's  from  the 
Empress'  rooms — it  has  a  rich  appearance,  and  is 
Corinthian.  The  flooring  of  the  Emperor's  is  all 
wood  of  different  colours — checked — having  to  my  eye 
a  more  pleasing  appearance  than  the  carpeted  ones  of 
the  Empress.  I  sat  down  on  two  chairs  on  which  had 
sat  he  who  ruled  the  world  at  one  time.  Some  of  his 
eagles  were  yet  remaining  on  the  chairs.  The  servant 
seemed  a  little  astonished  at  our  bowing  before  them. 
We  returned,  it  raining  all  the  while.  After  dinner 
Mr.  G[ordon]  came  for  us  to  go  to  coffee.  We  went, 
and  were  graciously  received ;  Lord  B[yron]  as  him- 
self, I  as  a  tassel  to  the  purse  of  merit.  I  there  saw 
a  painting  of  Rembrandt's  wife  or  mother  by  himself, 
which  was  full  of  life,  and  some  verses  by  Walter 
Scott  written  in  the  hostess'  album,  where  he  says 
Waterloo  will  last  longer  than  Cressy  and  Agincourt. 
How  different !  They  only  agree  in  one  thing — that 
they  were  both  in  the  cause  of  injustice.  The  novels  of 
Casti  were  presented  to  me  by  Mr.  Gordon,  which  I 
was  rather  surprised  at.  We  came  over.  Scott  writes 
in  M[rs].  G[ordon's]  book — 


"  For  one  brief  hour  of  deathless  fame  "  [Scott]. 
"Oh  Walter  Scott,  for  shame,  for  shame"  [Byron]. 
[The  novels  of  the  Abate  Casti  (who  died  in  1803) 
are  notoriously  licentious :  hence,  I  suppose,  Polidori's 
surprise  at  the  presentation  of  them  by  Mr.  Gordon. 
Byron,  it  is  stated  by  this  gentleman,  was  asked  by 
Mrs.  Gordon  on  May  5  to  write  some  lines  in  her 
album.  He  took  the  volume  away  with  him,  and  on 
the  following  day  brought  it  back,  having  inserted  in 
it  the  two  opening  stanzas  on  Waterloo  forming  part 
of  canto  3  of  Childe  Harold — from 

"  Stop,  for  thy  tread  is  on  an  empire's  dust," 
"He  wears  the  shattered  links  of  the  world's  broken  chain"] 

May  6. — Mr.  G[ordon]  and  son  came  while  at  break- 
fast ;  gave  us  letters,  etc.  Saw  the  little  child  again  ; 
B[yron]  gave  it  a  doll. 

[It  may  be  excusable  to  suppose  that  this  trifling 
incident  is  not  wholly  foreign  to  a  stanza,  54,  in  the 
3rd  canto  of  Childe  Harold.  This  stanza  comes 
immediately  after  Byron  has  begun  to  speak  of  the 
Rhine,  and  incidentally  of  the  afl"ection  which  his 
half-sister  bore  him.     Then  he  proceeds — 

"And  he  had  learn'd  to  love — I  know  not  why, 
For  this  in  such  as  him  seems  strange  of  mood — 
The  helpless  looks  of  blooming  infancy. 
Even  in  its  earliest  nurture.     What  subdued, 


To  change  like  this,  a  mind  so  far  imbued 
With  scorn  of  man,  it  little  boots  to  know  : 
But  thus  it  was  ;  and,  though  in  solitude 
Small  power  the  nipp'd  affections  have  to  grow, 
In  him  this  glow'd  when  all  beside  had  ceased  to  glow."] 

The  carrossier  came.  Set  off  at  two,  passing  through 
a  country  increasing  in  inequalities.  We  arrived  first 
at  Louvain,  where  we  saw  the  outside  of  a  beautiful 
Town-hall,  which  is  one  of  the  prettiest  pieces  of 
external  fretwork  I  have  seen.  Thence  we  went  to 
Tirlemont,  where  was  a  Jubilee.  Saints  and  sinners 
under  the  red  canopy  (the  sky  dirty  Indian-ink  one) 
were  alike  in  the  streets.  Every  street  had  stuck  in 
it,  at  a  few  paces  from  the  house-walls,  fir-branches 
1 6  or  17  feet  high,  distant  from  one  another  5  or  6 
feet.  Thence  to  St.  Trond,  where  we  ate — and  slept, 
I  suppose.  The  country  is  highly  cultivated,  and 
the  trees  older.  The  avenues  have  a  more  majestic 
appearance  from  the  long  swells  of  ground  and  the 
straight  roads,  but  there  is  more  squalid  misery  than 
I  have  seen  anywhere.  The  houses  are  many  of  them 
mud,  and  the  only  clean  part  about  them  is  the  white- 
wash on  the  external  walls.  Dunghills  before  some 
must  be  trodden  on  before  entering  the  houses.  The 
towns  also  fall  off  greatly  in  neat  and  comfortable 
looks.  The  walls  round  them  look  ruined  and  deso- 
late, and  give  a  great  idea  of  insecurity.  We  put  the 
servants  on  board-wages. 


May  7.— Set  off  from  St.  Trond  at  11.  The 
country  is  highly  cultivated ;  continual  hill  and  dale  ; 
lower  orders  miserable  in  perfection  ;  houses  built  of 
mud,  the  upper  storeys  of  which  are  only  built  of 
beams,  the  mud  having  fallen  off.  Bridges  thrown 
over  the  dirt  they  were  too  idle  to  remove.  Dung- 
hills at  their  doors,  and  ditches  with  black  fetid  water 
before  their  first  step.  Liege  has  a  pretty  neigh- 
bourhood, but  the  town  itself  is  filthy  and  disagree- 
able. They  visited  our  passports  here  at  three 
different  places.  The  hill  above  the  town  is  enor- 
mously steep  ;  and  from  some  way  beyond  it  has  a 
beautiful  view  of  Liege  with  its  towers  and  domes — 
of  the  country  with  its  many  cots  and  villas — and  of 
the  Meuse.  The  road  now  lies  through  a  scene 
where  cottages  are  spread  like  trees,  and  hedges 
like  furrows  of  corn,  the  fields  are  so  minutely 
divided.  A  little  farther  still  we  had  a  most  splen- 
did view  through  many  miles.  From  a  valley  we 
could  see  everything  clearly,  crowded  in  a  blue  tint, 
and  in  a  river  through  it  we  could  see  the  shadows 
of  the  trees.  The  cottages  are  improving,  and  the 
roads  becoming  the  worst  ever  seen ;  paved  still,  but 
so  horridly  hilled  and  vallied  that  the  rolling  of  the 
carriage  is  like  the  rolling  of  a  ship. 

We  came  at  last  to  Battice ;  but  before  entering 
we  passed  by  a  village  where  beggar  little  cherubs 


came  to  the  carriage-side,  and  running  cried  out, 
"  Donnez-nous  quelque  chose.  Monsieur  le  chef  de 
bataillon  " ;  another,  "  Monsieur  le  general."  And  a 
third  little  urchin,  who  gesticulated  as  well  as  cried, 
perceiving  the  others  had  exhausted  the  army,  cried, 
"  Un  sou,  Messieurs  les  rois  des  Hanov6riens  ! "  We 
arrived  at  Battice,  where  beggars,  beggars.  There 
we  found  horses  just  come  in. 

After  debate  (wherein  I  was  for  Aix-la-Chapelle, 
L[ord]  B[yron]  for  stopping)  we  set  off;  and  such 
a  jolting,  roUing,  knocking,  and  half-a-dozen  etc.,  as 
our  carriage  went  through,  I  never  saw,  which  put 
L[ord]  B[yron]  to  accusing  me  of  bad  advice ;  clear- 
ing however  as  the  road  mended.  The  rain  fell  into 
a  pond,  to  be  illuminated  by  sunshine  before  we 
reached  Aix-la-Chapelle  at  half-past  twelve. 

May  8. — Got  up  late.  Went  to  see  the  Cathedral : 
full  of  people,  lower  ranks,  hearing  mass.  Miserable 
painting,  architecture,  etc.  Saw  also  a  church  wherein 
was  no  particular  picture  or  anything.  At  Liege  the 
revolutionists  had  destroyed  the  fine  Cathedral. 

A  German  boy  who  led  me  about  Aix-la-Chapelle, 
on  my  asking  him  in  broken  German  about  the 
baths,  led  me  to  a  very  different  place.  I  was 
astonished  to  find  myself  in  certain  company.  The 
baths  are  hot  sulphuretted  -  hydrogen  -  impregnated 
water.     The  sulphur-beds  are  only  shown  to  dukes 


and  kings :  so  a  kingdom  is  good  for  something. 
I  saw  the  baths  themselves :  like  others,  not  very 

We  left  Aix-la-Chapelle  at  twelve,  going  through 
a  fine  country,  with  no  hedges  but  fine  woods  in  the 
distance.  We  arrived  at  St.  Juliers,  strongly  forti- 
fied, where  they  took  our  names  at  entering  and  at 
exiting.  It  is  a  neat  town,  and  was  besieged  last 
year.  We  were  at  the  post  taken  by  a  man  for 
Frenchmen,  and  he  told  us  we  had  been  driven  from 
Russia  by  a  band  of  the  Emperor.  He  seemed  to 
be  very  fond  of  them,  and  gave  as  a  reason  that  he 
had  been  employed  by  them  for  many  years.  And, 
I  forgetfully  saying,  "  What !  were  they  here  ?  " — 
"Yes,  and  farther."  I  answered,  "Jusqu'a  Moscou." 
"  Oui,  et  presque  plus  loin."  That  "  presque  "  means 
much.  The  French  were  not  generally  liked,  I  be- 
lieve. The  lower  orders  perhaps  liked  them,  but  the 
middle,  I  doubt.  But  I  cannot  say ;  I  may  perhaps 
be  influenced  by  the  opinion  of  a  beautiful  face  of 
this  town,  who,  on  my  asking  her  whether  the  dames 
fiaimaient  pas  beaucoup  les  Frangais^  answered,  "  Oui^ 
les  dames  publiquesr 

We  find  it  a  great  inconvenience  that  the  Poste  is 
a  separate  concern,  and  generally  pretty  distant  from 
the  inn.  The  women  are  many  of  them  very  beauti- 
ful, and  many  of  them,  as  well  as  the  men,  have  fine 


dark  eyes  and  hair.  The  men  wear  ear-rings,  and 
curl  their  hair ;  which,  if  I  remember  rightly,  was  the 
custom  in  the  time  of  Tacitus.  Many  of  the  women 
wear  their  hair  combed  quite  back,  and  upon  it  a 
little  square  piece  of  linen.  The  French  were  par- 
ticularly polite  during  the  siege. 

We  entered  the  dominions  of  the  King  of  Prussia 
a  little  beyond  Battice.  It  causes  a  strange  sensation 
to  an  Englishman  to  pass  into  one  state  from  another 
without  crossing  any  visible  line.  Indeed,  we  should 
not  have  perceived  that  we  had,  if  we  had  not  been 
stopped  by  a  Belgian  guard  who  asked  us  if  we  had 
anything  to  declare.  The  difference  is,  however,  very 
striking.  The  men,  the  women,  everything,  improve 
— except  the  cottages.  The  people  look  cleaner, 
though  everything  else  is  dirty ;  contrary  to  the 
Belgians,  they  seem  to  collect  their  cleanliness  upon 
themselves,  instead  of  throwing  it  upon  their  cots, 
tins,  trees,  and  shrubs. 

We  arrived  at  Cologne  after  much  bad,  sandy, 
heavy  road,  at  ii.  The  pavement  begins  to  be 
interrupted  after  Aix,  but  ends  almost  entirely  after 
St.  Juliers.  Cologne  is  upon  a  flat  on  the  Rhine. 
We  were  groaning  at  having  no  sight  of  far-famed 
Cologne,  when  we  came  suddenly  under  its  battle- 
ments and  towers.  We  passed  through  its  fortifica- 
tions without  question.     After  having  found  the  gates 


shut,  and   feed  the  porter,  we  found  inns  full,  and 
at  last  got  into  the  H6tel  de  Prague. 

May  9. — Got  up  very  bad.^  Sat  down  to  breakfast. 
Just  done,  we  heard  some  singing.  Enquiry  told  us, 
buyable.  Got  them  up.  A  harp  played  by  a  dark- 
haired  German,  pretty,  and  two  fiddlers.  She  played 
and  sang  The  Troubadour,  which  brought  back  a 
chain  of  Scotch  recollections,  and  a  German  song; 
then  a  beautiful  march,  in  which  the  music  died  away 
and  then  suddenly  revived.  After  a  waltz  we  dis- 
missed them.  We  both  mounted  a  voiture,  and  drove 
through  the  town  to  the  Cathedral.  Great  part 
pulled  down  by  the  revolutionists,  and  the  roof  of 
the  nave  obliged  to  be  restored  with  plain  board — 
a  staring  monument  over  Gallic  ruin.  There  is  fine 
stained  glass,  and  the  effect  of  its  being  very  high 
anH  variegated  in  the  choir  is  beautiful.  We  saw 
a  fine  painting  here  by  Kalf :  vide  Taschbuch.  The 
tomb  of  the  three  kings  said  to  be  worth  three 
millions  of  francs,  and  an  immensely  rich  treasury 
wherein  was  a  sacrament  worth  one  million  of  francs. 
In  falling  down  a  step  I  broke  a  glass,  for  which  they 
at  first  would  not  take  anything — which  at  last  cost 
me  three  francs.     Kept  countenance  amazingly  well. 

Went  to  see  St.  Ursula's  Church,  where  we  were 

^  Such  is  the  word  written  by  Charlotte  Polidori.     I  fancy  it 
ought  to  be  "  late." 


shown  virgins'  skulls  of  ninety  years  old,  male  and 
female,  all  jumbled  into  a  mass  of  ii,cxx)  virgins' 
bones  arranged  all  in  order— some  gilt,  etc.  A  whole 
room  bedecked  with  them.  All  round,  indeed,  what- 
ever we  saw  were  relics,  skulls ;  some  in  the  heads  of 
silver-faced  busts,  some  arranged  in  little  cells  with 
velvet  cases,  wherein  was  worked  the  name  of  each. 
Paintings  of  St.  Ursula,  etc.  Asked  for  a  piece  out 
of  the  masses :  only  got  a  smile,  and  a  point  of  a 
finger  to  an  interdiction  in  Latin,  which  I  did  not 

We  went  to  see  a  picture  of  Rubens,  The  Nailing 
of  St.  Peter  to  a  Cross ;  the  best  design,  though  not 
very  good,  I  yet  have  seen  of  his.  A  German  artist 
copying  it  spoke  English  to  us. 

Returned  home.  Sent  my  name  to  Professor  Wall- 
raf :  got  admission.  Found  a  venerable  old  man  who 
has  spent  his  life  in  making  a  collection  of  paintings 
and  other  objects  of  vertu  belonging  to  his  country, 
Cologne,  which  he  intends  leaving  to  his  native 

[This  is  no  doubt  the  Wallraf  who  was  joint  founder 
of  the  celebrated  Wallraf-Richartz  Museum  in  Cologne. 
The  statement  which  ensues  as  to  an  early  oil-painter 
named  Kaft  is  noticeable ;  whether  correct  I  am  un- 
able to  say.  The  Wallraf-Richartz  Museum  does  not 
contain  any  painting  by  Tintoretto  to  which  the  name 


Campavella  could  apply:   there  is  a  fine  picture  by 
him  of  Ovid  and  Corinna.l 

Many  pictures  were  extremely  good,  especially 
painting  of  individuals.  Kaft  was  a  native  of  this 
town,  who  painted  in  oil  before  oil-painting  was 
known.  Saw  some  Poussins,  Claude  Lorraines.  Some 
moderate.  A  Tintoretto  of  Campavella  beautiful : 
colouring  and  drawing  strong  and  expressive.  A 
Rembrandt  and  a  Teniers,  etc.  A  master  of  Rubens. 
A  copy  in  colours  from  the  drawing  of  Raphael  by 
one  of  his  disciples.  Cologne  has  stamped  more 
coins  than  some  empires,  and  has  coined  twenty-six 
kinds  of  gold.  He  had  made  drawings  of  them,  but 
the  revolution  stopped  it.  The  revolutionary  Gauls, 
he  said  with  a  tear  in  his  eye,  had  destroyed  many 
very  valuable  relics  of  Cologne ;  and,  pointing  to  a 
leaf  of  a  missal  with  another  tear,  he  said :  "  Many 
like  this  once  adorned  our  churches :  this  is  all."  He 
had  the  original  manuscript  of  Albert  le  Grand, 
History  of  Animals ;  Titian's  four  designs  of  the 
Caesars  at  Polenham,  with  his  own  handwriting ;  the 
Albert  Durer's  sketch  of  Christ's  head  which  belonged 
to  Charles  1 1 ;  and  a  painting  of  Albert  Durer's 
Master.^  He  wishes  for  a  copy  of  any  of  Caxton's 
printing  in  England. 

^  Only  an  initial  is  written,  "M"  :  but  I  suppose  "Master"— 
i.e.  Michael  Wohlgemuth — is  meant. 


Went  to  buy  some  books.  Found  Miss  Helmhoft, 
a  fine  woman.  Had  a  long  confab.  Bought  more 
books  than  I  wanted.  Heard  her  spout  German 
poetry  that  I  did  not  understand ;  and  laughed  at 
the  oddity  of  her  gesticulation,  which  she  took  for 
laughter  at  the  wit  of  a  poet  who  was  describing 
the  want  of  a  shirt — and  was  highly  pleased. 

The  French  destroyed  convents,  and  made  of  them 
public  places  for  walking. 

Have  been  taken  for  servants,  Frenchmen,  mer- 
chants— never  hardly  for  English.  Saw  the  Rhine 
last  night — fine  mass  of  water,  wide  as  the  Thames 
some  way  below  Blackwall ;  but  no  tide,  and  very 
deep.  Town  dirty,  very  decayed,  badly  paved,  worse 
lighted,  and  few  marks  of  splendour  and  comfort. 

May  10. — We  have  seen  crucifixes  for  these  four 
days  at  every  turn,  some  made  of  wood,  some  of 
stone,  etc.  Set  off,  after  having  defeated  the  im- 
position of  a  postman,  to  Bonn  ;  the  scenery  not  any- 
thing particular  till  we  see  the  Seven  Hills,  a  large 
amphitheatre  on  the  right,  glimpses  on  the  left  of  the 
Rhine,  and  the  Seven  Hills.  Bonn  at  last  appeared, 
with  its  steeples,  and  on  the  neighbouring  hills  castles 
and  cots,  towers,  and  (not)  towns.^ 

1  It  seems  rather  odd  that  Polidori  should  make  this  jotting, 
"  and  (not)  towns."  Perhaps  he  aimed  to  controvert  the  phrase, 
"scattered  cities  crowning  these,"  in  Byron's  poem  quoted 
further  on. 

THE   RHINE  8i 

I  saw  yesterday  a  picture  of  Rembrandt's  with 
three  lights  in  it  very  well  managed,  at  Wallrafs. 

Saw  R.  Simmons'  writing  in  the  police-book  at 
Bonn,  and  wrote  to  Soane. 

[This  was  John,  the  son  of  Sir  John  Soane,  founder 
of  the  Soane  Museum  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields.] 

The  innkeeper  makes  you  put  your  name — whence 
— whither — profession  and  age — every  night.  Rogues 
all  of  them,  charging  much. 

May  II. — We  saw  the  first  vines  a  little  before 
entering  Cologne  some  days  ago.  We  left  Bonn  at 
eleven,  the  town  having  nothing  in  particular.  The 
Seven  Hills  were  the  first  that  struck  our  sight  on 
one  of  the  highest  pinnacles  in  Drachenfels,  now  a 
mere  ruin,  formerly  a  castle  of  which  many  a  tale  is 
told.  There  was  by  the  roadside  a  monument  raised 
upon  the  spot  where  one  noble  brother  killed  another. 
Crucifixes  all  the  way.  We  had  the  river  on  one 
side,  whence  rose  hills  (not  mountains)  cultivated 
halfway  for  vines — and  the  rest,  nuts,  shrubs,  oak,  etc. 
Towers  on  pinnacles,  in  ruin  ;  villages  (with  each  its 
spire)  built  of  mud. 

Cultivation  in  a  high  degree ;  no  hedges,  ground 
minutely  divided  into  beds  rather  than  fields  ;  women 
working  in  the  fields  ;  ox  and  horse  ploughing ;  oxen 
draw  by  their  heads  alone.  Peasantry  happy-looking 
and  content.     Two  points   particularly  struck  us — 


the  Drachenfels,  and  the  view  at  a  distance  before 

coming   to   Videnhar   when   the   distant    hills    were 

black  with  the  rain.     But  the  whole  way  it  is  one  of 

the  finest  scenes,  I  imagine,  in  the  world.     The  large 

river  with  its  massy  swells  and  varied  towered  banks. 

We  changed  horses  at  Bemagne,  and  passed  over  a 

road  first  cut  by  Aurelius,  Theodoric,  and  Buonaparte. 

B[uonaparte]'s  name  is  everywhere.     Who  did  this  ? 

N[apoleon]  B[uonaparte]. — Who  that? — He.     There 

is  an  inscription  to  record  this.     Andernach — a  fine 

entrance  from  Bemagne,  with  its  massy  towers  and 

square-spired   church.     From   Andernach  we  passed 

on.     Saw  on  the  other  side  Neuwied,  a  town  owing 

its  existence  to  the  mere  toleration  of  religion.     It 

is  the  finest  and  [most]  flourishing  we  have  seen  since 

Ghent  and  Antwerp.     We  saw  the  tomb  of  Hoche  at 

a  distance ;  went  to  it.     There  was  inscribed  "  The 

army  of  the  Sambre  and  the  Moselle  to  its  general-in- 

chief  Hoche."     The  reliefs  are  torn  off,  the  marble 

slabs  broken,  and  it  is  falling.     But — 

"  Glory  of  the  fallen  brave 
Shall  men  remember  though  forgot  their  grave," 

and  the  enemies  may  launch  malicious  darts  against 
it.  After  Andernach  the  Rhine  loses  much.  The 
valley  is  wider,  and  the  beautiful,  after  the  almost 
sublime,  palls,  and  man  is  fastidious. 

[The   celebrated   lyric   by  Byron   introduced  into 


Childe  Harold^  an  address  to  his  half-sister,  is  stated 
farther  on  to  have  been  written  on  this  very  day.  I 
cite  the  first  stanza — 

"The  castled  crag  of  Drachenfels 
Frowns  o'er  the  wide  and  winding  Rhine, 
Whose  breast  of  waters  broadly  swells 
Between  the  banks  which  bear  the  vine  ; 
And  hills  all  rich  with  blossom'd  trees, 
And  fields  which  promise  corn  and  wine. 
And  scattered  cities  crowning  these, 
Whose  far  white  walls  along  them  shine, 
Have  strew'd  a  scene  which  I  should  see 
With  double  joy  wert  thou  with  me."] 

About  a  mile  from  Coblentz  we  saw  Marceau's  tomb 
— too  dark.  Crossed  the  bridge  over  the  Moselle, 
entered  Coblentz  ;  asked  of  military,  no  pass  ;  went  to 
inns,  rascals.  Went  to  the  Trois  Suisses — well  served  ; 
fine  view  of  Ehrenbreitstein  fortress  in  sight.  When 
French  besieged  it,  Marceau  was  here  at  this  inn, 
and  the  cannon-ball  pierced  it  several  times. — There 
were  84  French  officers  here,  when  they  would  not 
believe  the  Cossacks  would  pass ;  they  had  to  fly  as 
quick  as  horses  could  convey  them,  for  the  C[ossacks], 
getting  into  boats,  made  their  horses  swim  across. 
C[ossack]s  rascals — ate  and  drank  and  never  paid. 
The  general  of  them  mean  into  the  bargain  ;  for  he 
sent  the  waiter  in  search  of  a  louis  he  had  never 
dropped,  and  went  off. — A  flying  bridge  in  face 
of  me. 


[Marceau  died  in  1796  of  a  wound  received  near 
Altenkirchen,  at  the  age  of  only  twenty-seven.  High 
honours  were  paid  to  his  remains  both  by  his  own 
army  and  by  the  Austrians  whom  he  had  been  com- 
bating. Polidori  passes  rapidly  from  the  affair  of 
Marceau  to  that  of  eighty-four  French  officers  and 
a  body  of  Cossacks :  but  it  is  clear  that  these  two 
matters  have  no  real  connexion  :  the  latter  must 
relate  to  18 15  or  18 14.  Byron  devotes  to  Marceau 
two  stanzas  of  Childe  Harold — 

"  By  Coblentz,  on  a  rise  of  gentle  ground, 
There  is  a  small  and  simple  pyramid 
Crowning  the  summit  of  the  verdant  mound. 
Beneath  its  base  are  heroes'  ashes  hid, 
Our  enemy's  :  but  let  not  that  forbid 
Honour  to  Marceau  ;  o'er  whose  early  tomb 
Tears,  big  tears,  gush'd  from  the  rough  soldier's  lid, 
Lamenting  and  yet  envying  such  a  doom. 
Falling  for  France,  whose  rights  he  battled  to  resume. 

"  Brief,  brave,  and  glorious,  was  his  young  career,"  etc. 

General  Hoche,  although  a  separate  monument  to  him 
was  observed  by  Byron  and  Polidori,  was  in  fact 
buried  in  the  same  tomb  with  Marceau.  He  died  at 
Wetzlar  in  1797,  aged  twenty-nine.  It  may  be 
noticed  that  Byron  (line  4)  writes  *' heroes',"  plural, 
followed  by  "  enemy's,"  singular.  "  Heroes' "  must  be 
intended  for  both  Marceau  and  Hoche,  and  I  suspect 
that  "  enemy's  "  is  a  misprint  for  "  enemies'."] 


May  12. — Got  up.  Looked  at  the  fine  view,  and 
went  to  the  bath,  which  was  at  a  maltster's — 30 
sous.  Thence  entered  a  Catholic  church — organ — 
children  singing,  which  had  a  fine  effect.  A  copy  of 
Rubens — lineal.     Breakfasted. 

Mounted  a  caleche,  and  went  to  Marceau's  monu- 
ment. The  tomb  of  heroes  made  into  a  certain  place 
very  much  expressed  the  flickering  flame  of  fame. 
Thence  to  the  Chartreuse  :  deserted,  ruined,  window- 
less,  roofless,  and  tenantless — with  another  in  sight  in 
the  same  state.  Plenty  of  reliefs  on  the  roadside 
belonging  to  the  Road  to  Calvary,  an  oratory  on 
the  hillside,  where  were  many  peasants  bowing  in 
reverence.  Thence  to  the  flying  bridge  managed 
by  boats  fastened  in  the  stream  with  a  rope,  and 
by  the  rudder. 

Saw  a  motley  group  of  peasants  with  their  head- 
dresses of  gold  and  crimson  or  green  with  the  steel 
pin.  Cocked  hat,  blue  coat  and  stockinged  heroes 
with  a  fork.  Ofiicers,  artillery-men,  etc. ;  crosses  given 
apparently  with  as  profuse  a  hand  to  the  soldiers  as 
to  the  roadside. 

Went  to  Ehrenbreitstein.  Everything  broken  by 
gunpowder;  immense  masses  of  solid  stone  and 
mortar  thrown  fifty  yards  from  their  original  situation  ; 
ruined  walls,  gateways,  and  halls — nothing  perfect. 
Splendid   views    thence — Coblentz,    Rhine,    Moselle 


with  its  bridge,  mountains,  cultivation,  vines,  wilder- 
ness, everything  below  my  feet.  Mounted  again. 
Passed  the  Rhine  in  a  boat  (rowed),  looking  very 
like  the  Otaheitan  canoes.  Into  the  carriage — set 
off.  Scenes  increasing  in  sublimity.  The  road  raised 
from  the  side  of  the  river  without  parapet :  two 
precipices  coming  to  the  road  headlong.  Indeed  the 
river  reaches  foot  to  foot — splendid,  splendid,  splendid. 
Saw  the  fort  belonging  once  to  Muhrfrey,  where  he 
raised  customs,  and  resisted  in  consequence  sixty 
cities.  Arrived  at  St.  Goar.  At  the  first  post  saw 
the  people  in  church ;  went  to  hear  them  sing — 

May  13. — Left  St.  Goar.  Found  scenery  sublime 
to  Bingen.  Men  with  cocked  hats  and  great  buckles 
hacking  at  the  vines.  The  scenery  after  Bingen 
gains  in  beauty  what  it  loses  in  sublimity.  Immense 
plain  to  the  mounts,  with  the  Rhine  in  medio, 
covered  with  trees,  woods,  and  forests.  Fine  road  to 
Mayence  made  by  Nap[oleon] ;  his  name  has  been 
erased  from  the  inscription  on  the  column  com- 
memorative of  the  work.     Insolence  of  power  ! 

Mayence  a  fine  town,  with  a  cathedral  raised  above 
it  of  red  sandstone.  Bavarians,  Austrians,  and  Prus- 
sians, all  in  the  town — belonging  to  all.  The  best 
town  we  have  seen  since  Ghent. 

[Mayence  was  at  this  date,  locally,  in  the  Grand 


Duchy  of  Hesse :  but  as  a  fortress  it  appertained  to 
the  German  Confederation,  and  was  garrisoned  by 
Austrians,  Prussians,  and  Hessians  (hardly  perhaps 

One  of  our  postillions  blew  a  horn.  Saw  yesterday 
a  beautiful  appearance — two  rainbows,  one  on  the 
top  of  trees  where  the  colours  of  the  foliage  pierced 
the  rainbow-hues. 

Arrived  at  Mayence  at  6J.  Saw  along  the  Rhine 
many  fine  old  castles.  This  below  is  what  L[ord] 
B[yron]  wrote  to  Mrs.  L[eigh]  some  days  ago: 
written  May  11  on  Rhine-banks.  See  Childe 
Haroldy  from  "  The  Castled  Crag  of  Drachenfels  "  to 
"  Still  sweeten  more  these  Banks  of  Rhine."  ^ 

May  14. — From  Mayence,  where  I  saw  the  spot 
where  they  said  lately  stood  the  house  where  printing 
was  invented  ;  it  had  been  pulled  down  by  the  French. 
The  gallery  I  could  not  see,  because  the  keeper  had 
taken  it  into  his  head  to  make  a  promenade.  Saw 
the  cathedral,  pierced  at  the  roof  by  bombs  in  the 
last  siege  the  town  underwent.  The  reliefs — some 
of  which  were  in  a  good  style — many  decapitated. 
There  was  a  German  marshal  who  was  represented 
as  gravely    putting   forth   his  powdered   head   from 

1  These  are  the  precise  words  as  they  stand  in  Charlotte 
Polidori's  transcript.  It  is  to  be  presumed  that  Dr.  Polidori 
wrote  them  some  while  after  May  13,  i8i6. 


under  a  tombstone   he  has  just  lifted  up — ^with  an 
inscription  saying  "  I  am  here." 

From  Mayence  we  went  to  Mannheim  through  a 
fine  country.  Crossed  the  Rhine  on  a  bridge  of 
boats.  Taken  very  ill  with  a  fever  at  Mannheim — 
could  not  write  my  Journal. 

May  15. — Being  a  little  recovered,  set  off.  Fine 
alleys  of  Lombardy-poplars  and  horse-chestnuts — 
neat  villages.  Entered  Carlsruhe  through  a  grove  of 
Scotch  firs  and  other  trees  that  had  a  fine  effect. 
Saw  the  Palace. 

Entered  the  inn,  and  was  very  ill.  Took  ipecac, 
and  op.  gr.  15.  Headache,  vertigo,  tendency  to  faint- 
ing, etc.  Magnesia  and  lemon  acid — a  little  better, 
no  effect. 

Went  a  drive  about  the  town.  Saw  the  neatest 
town  we  have  yet  met  with :  the  only  objection  is  the 
houses  stuccoed  white — bad  for  the  eyes.  Saw  the 
outside  of  the  Palace,  and  went  into  the  garden  laid 
out  in  the  English  manner. 

Went  home :  dreadful  headaches :  ate  some  stewed 
apples  ;  took  some  more  magn[esia]  and  acid  ;  had  no 
effect ;  lay  down  ;  got  up  after  two  hours.  Was  just 
going  out  when  L[ord]  B[yron]  came  to  take  from 
my  hand  a  plated  candlestick,  to  give  me  a  brass  one. 
Got  on  a  few  steps;  fainted.  My  fall  brought  the 
servants  to  me.     Took  4  pills  ;  going  out  again,  when 


L[ord]  B[yron]  made  the  servant  put  down  the 
plated  candlestick,  to  take  up  a  brass  one  ;  went 
to  bed. 

[This,  as  Polidori  evidently  thought,  was  an  odd 
incident,  not  easily  accounted  for.  One  cannot 
suppose  that  Byron  simply  aimed  at  humiliating  or 
mortifying  his  physician.  There  must  have  been 
a  candle  in  each  candlestick ;  and  it  is  conceivable 
that  the  candle  in  the  brass  one  was  the  longer,  and 
therefore  the  more  suitable  for  an  invalid  who  might 
have  needed  it  throughout  the  night.] 

Medicine  had  violent  effect :  better  on  the  whole, 
though  weak. 

Just  as  we  were  going  out  I  met  Sir  C.  Hunter  at 
my  chamber-door,  who  told  me  he  had  heard  so  bad 
an  account  of  my  positively  dying  that  he  came  to 
enquire  how  I  found  myself.  I  asked  him  in.  He 
took  care  to  tell  us  he  was  a  great  friend  of  the 
Grand  Duke,  who  had  sent  his  groom  of  the  stole 
(he  called  it  stool)  in  search  of  lodgings  for  the 
worthy  Mayor  ;^  gave  us  a  long  sermon  about 
rheumatism,  routes,  etc.  ;  left  us.  In  the  evening 
he  sent  in  the  Guide  du  Voyageur  en  les  pays  de 
r  Europe  J  begging  in  return  some  of  L[ord]  B[yron's] 

1  I  don't  understand  "  Mayor  "  in  this  context :  should  it  be 


Went  out.  Saw  a  church.  Columns  like  firs — 
Corinthian,  golden  capitals :  loaded  everywhere  with 
gilt,  perhaps  tawdry,  but  fine-tawdry.  The  environs 
are  beautiful.  Drove  a  great  deal  about :  fine  trees 
and  fine  cultivation. 

May  1 8. — From  Carlsruhe  to  Offenberg;  much 
better.  Slept  halfway :  blinds  down  the  other,  so 
nothing  to  mention  except  fine  trees,  fine  cocked 
hats,  fine  women,  and  yellow-coated  postillions. 

May  19. — Set  off  from  Offenberg;  saw  some  scenes 
that  pleased  me  much ;  hills  and  clouds  upon  them  ; 
woods  with  mists.  Passed  through  Freiburg,  where  we 
saw  the  steeple  pervious  to  the  top  with  trellis-work 
showing  the  light,  which  had  to  my  eyes  a  beautiful 

I  think  Charles,  when  he  said,  "  The  German  for  his 
horse,"  remembered  the  G[erman]  postillions  ;  for  they 
talk  to  theirs,  and  the  horses  on  their  part  listen  and 
seem  to  understand.  The  greater  part  of  to-day  I 
have  found  the  ladies  in  a  strange  costume  of  short 
wide  red  petticoats  with  many  folds,  and  a  hat  of 
straw  as  wide  as  a  wheel.  Arrived  at  Krolzingen  to 
sleep.  Left  Krolzingen :  got  to  a  hill.  Fine  view 
thence :  the  Alps,  the  Rhine,  the  Jura  mountains, 
and  a  fine  plain  before  us — fine  country.  Crossed 
the  Rhine,  and  were  in  Switzerland.  The  town  upon 
unequal  ground — some  parts  very  high,  and  some 


low ;  the  greater  part  very  narrow  streets.  After  tea 
went  to  take  a  walk  :  went  upon  the  Rhine  bridge — 
upon  a  hill  in  the  town  [Bale  presumably]. 

May  21. — Went  to  see  a  panorama  of  Thun,  the 
first  Swiss  one :  crowded  foolishly  with  people,  and 
too  small.  Saw  a  gallery  that  the  artist  had  formed. 
A  fine  Raphael,  not  his ;  a  good  Rembrandt,  the  first 
I  saw  historical ;  a  Circumcision ;  a  head  of  the 
caricaturist  David  ;  two  heads  of  Divinity  ;  a  Christ 
and  Virgin — mere  pieces  of  flesh  and  drapery. 
Went  to  a  marchand  d'estampes.  Saw  there  NelsorCs 
Deaths  Chatham's  ditto,  and  other  pictures  of  England. 
The  Dance  of  Death  has  been  destroyed  :  but  it  was 
not  Holbein's,  but  his  restorer's.  The  collection  is 
dispersed,  that  once  was  here,  of  his  paintings. 

Agreed  with  a  voiturier  to  take  our  carriages  to 
Geneva  in  five  days.  Set  off.  Country  increases 
from  hills  to  mountains  with  great  beauty.     Passed 

through   Lipstadt  and  came  to .     Went    before 

supper  to  climb  a  hill  where  we  found  a  goatherd 
who  could  not  understand  the  French  that  asked  for 
milk  till  it  had  the  commentary, "  We  will  pay  for  it." 
The  scene  was  very  fine :  to  the  right,  beautiful ;  to 
the  left,  it  had  a  tendency  to  sublimity  ;  on  one  side, 
hills  covered  to  the  top  with  trees  ;  on  the  other, 
mountains  with  bald  pates.  Came  down.  Found 
the  servants  playing  at  bowls.     They  were  obliged  to 


run  the   bowls  along  a  narrow   board    to   the  men. 
Supper  :  read  Arabian  Nights  ;  went  to  bed. 

May  22. — Left at  9  ;  passed  the  Jura  moun- 
tains, where  we  saw  some  fine  castellated  scenery, 
and  women  ornamented  strangely — amazingly  short 
petticoats,  not  below  the  knee,  with  black  crape 
rays  round  their  heads  that  make  them  look 
very  spidery.  Soleure  is  a  neat  town  with  stone 
fortifications,  and  a  clean  church  with  fountains 
before  it.  The  houses  in  this  neighbourhood  have 
a  pleasing  strange  appearance  on  account  of  the 
roofs,  which  slant  out  on  every  side  a  great  way. 
Immense  number  of  Scotch  firs — roads  fine.  Voi- 
turiers  slow,  and  have  eight  francs  of  drink-money  a 
day,  being  two ;  which  being  too  much  according 
to  the  Guide  du  Voyageur  en  Europe^  where  it  is 
said    \\    fr.,  we  showed  it  to  our  courier,  who  was 

in  a  passion.     Came  to  ,  where  we  slept. 

May   23. — Left  :    got   a   sight  of  some  fine 

Alpine  snow-capped  mountains.  Came  to  Berne ; 
delightfully  situated  ;  beautiful  streets  with  arcades 
all  their  length.  Dined  there.  Saw  a  splendidly 
beautiful  view  coming  down  a  hill,  with  hills  covered 
with  fir,  ash,  beech,  and  all  the  catalogue  of  trees ; 
Morat  at  the  bottom,  and  the  Jura  mounts  behind, 
with  snowy  hair  and  cloudy  night-caps.  Arrived 
at  Morat  ;  neat  with  arcades.     Stopped  at  the  Crown 


inn.     All  the  way  had  debates  whether  clouds  were 
mountains,  or  mountains  clouds. 

May  24. — The  innkeeper  at  Morat,  being  a  little 
tipsy,  and  thinking  every  Englishman  (being  a 
philosophe)  must  be  a  philosophe  like  himself, 
favoured  us  with  some  of  his  infidel  notions  while 
serving  us  at  supper.  Near  Morat  was  fought  the 
battle  wherein  the  Burgundians  were  so  completely 
thrashed.  Their  bones,  of  which  we  took  pieces, 
are  now  very  few  ;  once  they  formed  a  mighty 
heap  in  the  chapel,  but  both  were  destroyed  by 
the  Burgundian  division  when  in  Switzerland,  and 
a  tree  of  liberty  was  planted  over  it,  which  yet 
flourishes  in  all  its  verdure — the  liberty  has  flown 
from  the  planters'  grasp.  Saw  Aventicum ;  there 
remains  sufficient  of  the  walls  to  trace  the  boundaries 
of  the  ancient  town ;  but  of  all  the  buildings,  both 
for  Gods  and  men,  nothing  but  a  column  remains, 
and  that  the  only  remnant  for  more  than  a  hundred 
years.  There  are  mosaic  pavements,  and  even  the 
streets  may  be  perceived  in  a  dry  summer  by  the 
grass  being  thinner.  The  mosaic  in  a  barn,  probably 
once  of  a  temple,  was  pretty  perfect  till  the  Gallic 
cavalry  came  and  turned  it  into  a  stable.  It  is 
formed  of  little  pieces  of  black,  white,  and  red  bricks  ; 
little  now  remains.  There  was  also  a  copper  vessel 
in  the  middle ;  that  too  has  disappeared.     The  town 


is  shamefully  negligent  of  the  antiquities  of  their 
fathers,  for  there  is  another  more  beautiful  and  per- 
fect mosaic  pavement  discovered,  but  which  they  have 
allowed  the  proprietor  to  cover  again  with  mould 
rather  than  buy  it.  We  found  in  a  barn  heads, 
plinths,  capitals,  and  shafts,  heaped  promiscuously. 
The  Corinthian-column  capital  is  deeply,  sharply,  and 
beautifully  cut.  A  head  of  Apollo  in  all  the  rude- 
ness of  first  art — a  capital  of  a  strange  mixed  order. 
There  is  the  Amphitheatre,  hollow  yet  pretty  perfect, 
but  no  stonework  visible ;  overgrown  with  trees ; 
the  size,  my  companion  told  me,  was  larger  than 
common.  In  the  town  there  were  some  beautiful 
fragments  of  ornament-sculpture  incorporated  in  the 
walls ;  all  marble.  In  the  walls  of  the  church  we 
sought  in  vain  for  the  inscription  that  Mathison 
mentions  to  Julia  Alpinula. 

[Both  to  Morat  and  to  Aventicum  (Avenches) 
Byron  devotes  some  stanzas  in  Childe  Harold,  63  to 
67 y  and  notes  to  correspond.  Morat  he  terms  "  the 
proud,  the  patriot  field."  He  speaks  of  the  hoard 
of  bones,  and  says :  "  I  ventured  to  bring  away  as 
much  as  may  have  made  a  quarter  of  a  hero,"  for 
"  careful  preservation."  His  reference  to  Aventicum 
and  the  inscription  to  Julia  Alpinula  reads  rather 
curiously  in  the  light  of  Polidori's  avowal  that 
"  we  sought   in   vain  for   the  inscription."     Byron's 


readers  must  always,  I  apprehend,  have  inferred  the 

"By  a  lone  wall  a  lonelier  column  rears 
A  grey  and  grief-worn  aspect  of  old  days. 
'Tis  the  last  remnant  of  the  wreck  of  years, 
And  looks  as  with  the  wild  bewilder'd  gaze 
Of  one  to  stone  converted  by  amaze, 
Yet  still  with  consciousness  :  and  there  it  stands, 
Making  a  marvel  that  it  not  decays, 
When  the  coeval  pride  of  human  hands, 

Levell'd  Aventicum,  hath  strew'd  her  subject  lands. 

"  And  there — oh  sweet  and  sacred  be  the  name  ! — 
Julia,  the  daughter,  the  devoted,  gave 
Her  youth  to  Heaven  :  her  heart,  beneath  a  claim 
Nearest  to  Heaven's,  broke  o'er  a  father's  grave. 
Justice  is  sworn  'gainst  tears  ;  and  hers  would  crave 
The  life  she  lived  in  ;  but  the  judge  was  just, — 
And  then  she  died  on  him  she  could  not  save. 
Their  tomb  was  simple,  and  without  a  bust, 
And  held  within  their  urn  one  mind,  one  heart,  one  dust. 

^  Byron's  note  runs  thus  :  "  Julia  Alpinula,  a  young 
Aventian  priestess,  died  soon  after  a  vain  endeavour 
to  save  her  father,  condemned  to  death  as  a  traitor  by 
Aulus  Caecina.  Her  epitaph  was  discovered  many 
years  ago.  It  is  thus  :  *  Julia  Alpinula  hie  jaceo. 
Infelicis  patris  infelix  proles.  Deae  Aventiae  Sacerdos. 
Exorare  patris  necem  non  potui :  Male  mori  in  fatis 
illi  erat.  Vixi  annos  XXIII.'  I  know  of  no  human 
composition  so  affecting  as  this,  nor  a  history  of 
greater  interest.  These  are  the  names  and  actions," 


I  copied  the  one  below  on  account  of  its  medical 
tendency.  The  letters  in  this  as  well  as  in  all  the 
other  inscriptions  are  formed  like  our  Roman  print, 
not  in  the  least  imperfect :  "  Nvminib.  Avg.  et  Genio 
Col.  I.  El.  Apollini  Sagr.  9.  Postum  Hermes  lib. 
Medicis  et  Professorib,  D.S.D." 

From  Aventicum  or  Avenches  we  went  to  Payerne. 
We  have  seen  in  many  places  boys  leading  goats  just 
in  the  antique  style.  Thence  we  went  to  Moudon 
— dirty  town.  Stopped  for  refreshments.  One  fine 
view  we  have  had  all  the  way,  but  nothing  equal  to 
the  view  descending  to  Morat. 

Darkness  came  on.     We  saw  the  Castle  wherein 

defended    himself    against    the    French    who 

besieged  it  for  a  month :  looks  so  weak,  it  seems  a 
wonder.  The  Swiss  castles  are  not  nearly  so  in- 
teresting as  the  Rhine  ones.  They  are  very  conical- 
roofed  and  no  battlements.  We  saw  the  lake,  but 
for  a  long  time  doubted  whether  it  was  a  cloud 
below,  a  mist  before,  or  water  beneath  us.  Entered 

May  25. — Left  Lausanne,  after  having  looked  at  a 
bookseller's,  who  showed  me  a  fine  collection  of 
bad  books  for  four  louis.  Enquired  for  Dewar : 
name  not  known.  We  went  along  the  lake,  that  a 
little  disappointed  me,  as  it  does  not  seem  so  broad 
as   it  really  is,  and  the  mountains  near   it,  though 


covered  with  snow,  have  not  a  great  appearance  on 
account  of  the  height  [of  the]  lake  itself.  We  saw 
Mont  Blanc  in  the  distance ;  ethereal  in  appearance, 
mingling  with  the  clouds ;  it  is  more  than  60  miles 
from  where  we  saw  it.  It  is  a  classic  ground  we  go 
over.  Buonaparte,  Joseph,  Bonnet,  Necker,  Stael, 
Voltaire,  Rousseau,  all  have  their  villas  (except 
Rousseau).  Genthoud,  Ferney,  Coppet,  are  close 
to  the  road. 

[Perhaps  some  readers  may  need  to  be  reminded 
who  Bonnet  was.  He  was  a  great  physicist,  both 
practical  and  speculative,  Charles  Bonnet,  author  of  a 
Traits  d'Insectologie,  a  Traite  de  Vusage  des  Feuilles, 
Contemplations  de  la  Nature^  Palingenesie  Philosophiquey 
and  other  works.  Born  in  Geneva  in  1720,  he  died 
in  1793.] 

^We  arrived  at  S^cheron — where  L[ord  B[yron], 
having  put  his  age  down  as  100,  received  a  letter 
half-an-hour  after  from  I[nn]  K[eeper?] — a  thing 
that  seems  worthy  of  a  novel.  It  begins  again  to 
be  the  land  of  the  vine.  Women,  who  till  the  Pays 
de  Vaud  were  ugly,  improving  greatly. 

May  26. — After  breakfast,  and  having  made  up  the 
accounts  to  to-day,  and  having  heard  that  the  voi- 
turiers  made  a  claim  of  drink-money  all  the  way 
back,  we  ordered  a  caleche  ;  but,  happening  to  go 
into  the  garden,  we  saw  a  boat,  into  which  entering, 


we  pushed  out  upon  the  Leman  Lake.  After  rowing 
some  time,  happening  to  come  to  the  ferry,  we  found 
the  waiter  with  a  direful  look  to  tell  us  that  it  was 
pris  pour  un  monsieur  Anglais^  who  happened  to  be 

}     We   got   another,   and    went    out    to   bathe, 

I  rode  first  with  L[ord]  B[yron]  upon  the  field  of 
Waterloo  ;  walked  first  to  see  Churchill's  tomb ; 
bathed  and  rowed  first  on  the  Leman  Lake. — It  did 
us  much  good.  Dined ;  entered  the  caleche  ;  drove 
through  Geneva,  where  I  saw  an  effect  of  building  that 
pleased  me  :  it  was  porticoes  from  the  very  roof  of 
the  high  houses  to  the  bottom. 

Went  to  the  house  beyond  Cologny  that  belonged 
to  Diodati.  They  ask  five-and-twenty  louis  for  it  a 
month.  Narrow,  not  true.  The  view  from  his  house 
is  very  fine ;  beautiful  lake ;  at  the  bottom  of  the 
crescent  is  Geneva.  Returned.  Pictet  called,  but 
L[ord]  B[yron]  said  "  not  at  home." 

[There  were  two  Genevan  Pictets  at  this  date,  both 
public  men  of  some  mark.  One  was  Jean  Marc  Jules 
Pictet  de  Sergy,  1768  to  1828  ;  the  other,  the  Chevalier 
Marc  Auguste  Pictet,  1752  to  1825.  As  Polidori 
speaks  farther  on  of  Pictet  as  being  aged  about  forty- 
six,  the  former  would  appear  to  be  meant.     He  had 

^  No  name  is  given  :  should  it  be  Shelley  ?  Another  English- 
man who  was  in  this  locality  towards  the  same  date  was  Robert 


been  in  Napoleon's  legislative  chamber  from  i8cx)  to 
1 815,  and  was  afterwards  a  member  of  the  representa- 
tive council  of  Geneva. — The  Villa  Diodati  was  the 
house  where  Milton,  in  1639,  had  visited  Dr.  John 
Diodati,  a  Genevese  Professor  of  Theology.  Polidori's 
compact  phrase,  "  narrow,  not  true,"  is  by  no  means 
clear ;  perhaps  he  means  that  some  one  had  warned 
him  that  the  Villa  Diodati  (called  also  the  Villa  Belle 
Rive)  was  inconveniently  narrow,  but,  on  inspecting 
the  premises,  he  found  the  statement  incorrect.] 

May  27. — Got  up;  went  about  a  boat;  got  one  for 
3  fr.  a  day ;  rowed  to  S^cheron.  Breakfasted.  Got 
into  a  carriage.  Went  to  Banker's,  who  changed  our 
money,  and  afterwards  left  his  card.  To  Pictet — not 
at  home.  Home,  and  looked  at  accounts  :  bad  temper 
on  my  side.  Went  into  the  boat,  rowed  across  to  Dio- 
darti ;  cannot  have  it  for  three  years  ;  English  family. 
Crossed  again ;  I  went ;  L[ord]  B[yron]  back.  Get- 
ting out,  L[ord]  B[yron]  met  M[ary]  Wollstonecraft 
Godwin,  her  sister,  and  Percy  Shelley.  I  got  into  the 
boat  into  the  middle  of  Leman  Lake,  and  there  lay 
my  length,  letting  the  boat  go  its  way. 

[Here  I  find  it  difficult  to  understand  the  phrase — 
"  Cannot  have  it  (Villa  Diodati)  for  three  years — 
English  family."  It  must  apparently  mean  either  that 
an  English  family  were  occupying  or  had  bespoken 
Villa  Diodati,  and  would  remain  there  for  three  years 


to  come  (which  is  in  conflict  with  the  fact  that  Byron 
soon  afterwards  became  the  tenant);  or  else  that 
Byron  thought  of  renting  it  for  a  term  as  long  as  three 
years,  which  was  barred  by  the  previous  claim  of  some 
English  family.  On  the  whole,  the  latter  supposition 
seems  to  me  the  more  feasible ;  but  one  is  surprised 
to  think  that  Byron  had  any — even  remote — idea  of 
remaining  near  Geneva  for  any  such  great  length  of 
time.  This  sets  one's  mind  speculating  about  Miss 
Clairmont,  with  whom  (as  is  well  known)  Byron's 
amour  had  begun  before  he  left  London,  and  who  had 
now  just  arrived  to  join  him  at  Secheron  ;  had  he  at 
this  time  any  notion  of  settling  down  with  her  in  the 
neighbourhood  for  three  years,  more  or  less  ?  It  is  a 
curious  point  to  consider  for  us  who  know  how  rapidly 
he  discarded  her,  and  how  harshly  he  treated  her  ever 
afterwards.  Miss  Clairmont,  we  see,  was  now  already 
on  the  spot,  along  with  Percy  and  Mary  Shelley ;  in 
fact,  as  we  learn  from  other  sources,  they  had  arrived 
at  Sdcheron,  Dejean's  Hotel  de  I'Angleterre,  as  far 
back  as  May  i8,  or  perhaps  May  15 — and  Byron  now 
for  the  first  time  encountered  the  three.  It  appears 
that  he  must  have  met  Mary  Godwin  in  London, 
probably  only  once — not  to  speak  of  Clare.  Shelley, 
to  the  best  of  our  information,  he  had  never  till  now 
seen  at  all.  Polidori  here  terms  Clare  Clairmont  the 
"  sister "    of  "  M.  WoUstonecraft  Godwin  "  ;   and  in 

S^CHERON  loi 

the  entry  for  May  29  he  even  applies  the  name 
Wollstonecraft  Godwin  to  Clare  ;  and  it  will  be  found 
as  we  proceed  that  for  some  little  while  he  really 
supposed  the  two  ladies  to  be  sisters  in  the  right  sense 
of  the  term,  both  of  them  bearing  the  surname  of 
Godwin.  In  point  of  fact,  there  was  no  blood-relation- 
ship— Mary  being  the  daughter  of  Mr.  and  the  first 
Mrs.  Godwin,  and  Clare  the  daughter  of  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Clairmont.  It  may  be  as  well  to  add  that  the  letters 
addressed  by  Miss  Clairmont  to  Byron,  before  they 
actually  met  in  London,  have  now  (1904)  been 
published  in  The  Works  of  Lord  Byron,  Letters  and 
Journals,  vol.  iii,  pp.  429-437 ;  and  they  certainly 
exhibit  a  degree  of  forwardness  and  importunity  which 
accounts  in  some  measure  for  his  eventual  antipathy  to 

^Found  letter  from  De  Roche  inviting  me  to  break- 
fast to-morrow  ;  curious  with  regard  to  L[ord]  B[yron]. 
Dined  ;  P[ercy]  S[helley],  the  author  of  Queen  Mab, 
came  ;  bashful,  shy,  consumptive ;  twenty-six  ;  sepa- 
rated from  his  wife  ;  keeps  the  two  daughters  of  God- 
win, who  practise  his  theories  ;  one  L[ord]  B[yron]  s. 

[This  is  a  very  noticeable  jotting.  Shelley  appears 
to  have  come  in  alone  on  this  occasion,  and  we  may 
infer  that  some  very  confidential  talk  ensued  between 
him  and  Byron,  in  the  presence  of  Polidori.  He  was 
not  at  this  date  really  twenty-six  years  of  age,  but 


only  twenty-three.  "Bashful,  shy,"  is  an  amusingly 
simple  description  of  him.  As  to  "  consumptive,"  we 
know  that  Shelley  left  England  under  the  impression 
that  consumption  had  him  in  its  grip,  but  this  hardly 
appears  to  have  been  truly  the  case.  Polidori,  as  a 
medical  man,  might  have  been  expected  to  express 
some  doubt  on  the  subject,  unless  the  poet's  outward 
appearance  looked  consumptive.  Next  we  hear  that 
Shelley  "keeps  the  two  daughters  of  Godwin,  who 
practise  his  theories" — i.e.  set  the  marriage-laws  at 
defiance,  or  act  upon  the  principle  of  free  love.  One 
might  suppose,  from  this  phrase,  that  Polidori  believed 
Shelley  to  be  the  accepted  lover  of  Miss  Clairmont  as 
well  as  of  Mary  Godwin ;  but  the  addition  of  those 
very  significant  words — "One,  Lord  Byron's" — tells 
in  the  opposite  direction.  These  words  can  only 
mean  (what  was  the  fact)  that  one  of  these  ladies,  viz. 
Miss  Clairmont,  was  Lord  Byron's  mistress.  There- 
fore Polidori,  in  saying  that  Shelley  "  kept  the  two 
daughters  of  Godwin,"  may  presumably  have  meant 
that  he  housed  and  maintained  Clare,  while  he  was 
the  quasiAwxsh^-^di  of  Mary.  Whether  Polidori  now 
for  the  first  time  learned,  from  the  conversation  of 
Byron  and  Shelley,  what  was  the  relation  subsisting 
between  Clare  and  Byron,  or  whether  Byron  had  at 
some  earlier  date  imparted  the  facts  to  him,  is  a 
question  which  must  remain  unsolved.      The  latter 


appears  to  me  extremely  probable ;  for  Byron  had 
certainly  arranged  to  meet  Clare  near  Geneva,  and  he 
may  very  likely  have  given  the  requisite  notice  before- 
hand to  his  travelling  physician  and  daily  associate. 
My  aunt  Charlotte  Polidori  was  not  an  adept  in 
Shelleian  detail :  if  she  had  been,  I  fear  that  these 
sentences  would  have  shocked  her  sense  of  propriety, 
and  they  would  have  been  left  uncopied.  They  form 
the  only  passage  in  her  transcript  which  bears  in  any 
way  upon  the  amour  between  Lord  Byron  and  Miss 
Clairmont ;  to  the  best  of  my  recollection  and  belief 
there  was  not  in  the  original  Diary  any  other  passage 
pointing  in  the  same  direction. — I  may  observe  here 
that  there  is  nothing  in  Polidori's  Journal  to  show 
that  the  Shelley  party  were  staying  in  the  same 
Secheron  hotel  with  Lord  Byron.  Professor  Dowden 
says  that  they  were — I  suppose  with  some  sufficient 
authority  ;  and  I  think  other  biographers  in  general 
have  assumed  the  same.] 

Into  the  caleche  ;  horloger  s  at  Geneva  ;  L[ord] 
B[yron]  paid  15  nap.  towards  a  watch;  I,  13: 
repeater  and  minute-hand ;   foolish  watch. 

[This  means  (as  one  of  Polidori's  letters  shows) 
that  Byron  made  him  a  present  of  £1$  towards 
the  price  of  the  watch.] 

Went  to  see  the  house  of  Madame  Necker,  100 
a  half-year ;  came  home,  etc. 


May  28. — Went  to  Geneva,  to  breakfast  with 
Dr.  De  Roche  ;  acute,  sensible,  a  listener  to  himself; 
good  clear  head.  Told  me  that  armies  on  their 
march  induce  a  fever  (by  their  accumulation  of 
animal  dirt,  irregular  regimen)  of  the  most  malig- 
nant typhoid  kind ;  it  is  epidemic.  There  was  a 
whole  feverish  line  from  Moscow  to  Metz,  and  it 
spread  at  Geneva  the  only  almost  epidemic  typhus 
for  many  years.  He  is  occupied  in  the  erection  of 
Lancaster  schools,  which  he  says  succeed  well.  He 
is  a  Louis  Bourbonist.  He  told  me  my  fever  was 
not  an  uncommon  one  among  travellers.  He  came 
home  with  me,  and  we  had  a  chat  with  L[ord] 
B[yron]  ;  chiefly  politics,  where  of  course  we  differed. 
He  had  a  system  well  worked  out,  but  I  hope  only 
hypothetical,  about  liberty  of  the  French  being 
Machiavellianly  not  desirable  by  Europe.  He  pointed 
out  Dumont  in  the  court,  the  redacteur  of  Bentham. 

Found  a  letter  from  Necker  to  the  hotel-master, 
asking  100  nap.  for  three  months ;  and  another 
from  Pictet  inviting  L[ord]  B[yron]  and  any  friend 
to  go  with  him  at  8  to  Madame  Einard,  a  connection 
of  his.  We  then,  ascending  our  car,  went  to  see 
some  other  houses,  none  suiting. 

When  we  returned  home,  Mr.  Percy  Shelley  came 
in  to  ask  us  to  dinner ;  declined  ;  engaged  for  to- 
morrow.    We   walked   with   him,  and   got   into   his 


boat,  though  the  wind  raised  a  little  sea  upon  the  lake. 
Dined  at  four.  Mr.  Hentsch,  the  banker,  came  in  ; 
very  polite ;  told  L[ord]  B[yron]  that,  when  he  saw 
him  yesterday,  he  had  not  an  idea  that  he  was 
speaking  to  one  of  the  most  famous  lords  of  England. 

Dressed  and  went  to  Pictet's  :  an  oldish  man,  about 
forty-six,  tall,  well-looking,  speaks  English  well.  His 
daughter  showed  us  a  picture,  by  a  young  female 
artist,  of  Madame  Lavalliere  in  the  chapel ;  well 
executed  in  pencil — good  lights  and  a  lusciously 
grieving  expression. 

Went  to  Madame  Einard.  Introduced  to  a  room 
where  about  8  (afterwards  20),  2  ladies  (i  more). 
L[ord]  B[yron]'s  name  was  alone  mentioned ;  mine, 
like  a  star  in  the  halo  of  the  moon,  invisible.  L[ord] 
B[yron]  not  speaking  French,  M.  Einard  spoke  bad 
Italian.  A  Signor  Rossi  came  in,  who  had  joined 
Murat  at  Bologna.  Manly  in  thought ;  admired 
Dante  as  a  poet  more  than  Ariosto,  and  a  discussion 
about  manliness  in  a  language.  Told  me  Geneva 
women  amazingly  chaste  even  in  thoughts.  Saw 
the  Lavalliere  artist.  A  bonny,  rosy,  seventy-yeared 
man,  called  Bonstetten,  the  beloved  of  Gray  and  the 
correspondent  of  Mathison. 

[I  find  "40"  in  the  MS.:  apparently  it  ought  to 
be  "70,"  for  Bonstetten  was  born  in  1745.  He  lived 
on  till  1832.     Charles  Victor  de   Bonstetten  was  a 


Bernese  nobleman  who  had  gone  through  various 
vicissitudes  of  opinion  and  adventure,  travelling  in 
England  and  elsewhere.  To  Englishmen  (as  indi- 
cated in  Polidori's  remark)  he  is  best  known  as  a 
friend  of  the  poet  Thomas  Gray,  whom  he  met  in 
1769.  He  said:  "Jamais  je  n'ai  vu  personne  qui 
donnat  autant  que  Gray  I'idee  d'un  gentleman  ac- 
compli." Among  the  chief  writings  of  Bonstetten 
are  Recherches  sur  la  Nature  et  les  Lois  de  V Imagina- 
tion ;  Etudes  d'Hommes;  L' Homme  du  Midi  et 
r Homme  du   Nord.'] 

Madame  Einard  made  tea,  and  left  all  to  take 
sugar  with  the  fingers.  Madame  Einard  showed  some 
historical  pieces  of  her  doing  in  acquerella,  really  good, 
a  little  too  French-gracish.  Obliged  to  leave  before 
ten  for  the  gates  shut.     Came  home,  went  to  bed. 

Was  introduced  by  Shelley  to  Mary  WoUstone- 
craft  Godwin,  called  here  Mrs.  Shelley.  Saw  picture 
by  Madame  Einard  of  a  cave  in  the  Jura  where  in 
winter  there  is  no  ice,  in  summer  plenty.  No  names 
announced,  no  ceremony — each  speaks  to  whom  he 
pleases.  Saw  the  bust  of  Jean  Jacques  erected  upon 
the  spot  where  the  Geneva  magistrates  were  shot. 
L[ord]  B[yron]  said  it  was  probably  built  of  some 
of  the  stones   with   which   they  pelted    him.^     The 

^  I  don't  think  there  was  any  such  stone-pelting  in  Geneva  : 
it  took  place  elsewhere  in  Switzerland. 


walk  is  deserted.  They  are  now  mending  their 
roads.  Formerly  they  could  not,  because  the 
municipal  money  always  went  to  the  public  box. 

May  29. — Went  with  Mr.  Hentsch  to  see  some 
houses  along  the  valley  in  which  runs  the  Rhone : 
nothing.  Dined  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Percy  Shelley 
and  Wollstonecraft  Godwin.  Hentsch  told  us  that 
the  English  last  year  exported  corn  to  Italy  to  a 
great  amount. 

May  30. — Got  up  late.  Went  to  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Shelley ;  breakfasted  with  them  ;  rowed  out  to  see 
a  house  together.  S[helley]  went  from  Lucerne  with 
the  two,  with  merely  £26,  to  England  along  the 
Rhine  in  bateaux.  Gone  through  much  misery, 
thinking  he  was  dying ;  married  a  girl  for  the  mere 
sake  of  letting  her  have  the  jointure  that  would 
accrue  to  her ;  recovered  ;  found  he  could  not  agree ; 
separated ;  paid  Godwin's  debts,  and  seduced  his 
daughter ;  then  wondered  that  he  would  not  see  him. 
The  sister  left  the  father  to  go  with  the  other.  Got 
a  child.  All  clever,  and  no  meretricious  appearance. 
He  is  very  clever ;  the  more  I  read  his  Queen  Mab^ 
the  more  beauties  I  find.  Published  at  fourteen  a 
novel;  got  ^^30  for  it;  by  his  second  work  ;^ioo. 
Mab  not  published. — Went  in  caleche  with  L[ord] 
B[yron]  to  see  a  house ;  again  after  dinner  to  leave 
cards ;   then  on   lake  with  L[ord]  B[yron].      I,  Mrs 


S[helley],  and  Miss  G[odwin],  on  to  the  lake  till 
nine.  Drank  tea,  and  came  away  at  ii  after  con- 
fabbing. The  batelier  went  to  Shelley,  and  asked 
him  as  a  favour  not  to  tell  L[ord]  B[yron]  what  he 
gave  for  his  boat,  as  he  thought  it  quite  fit  that 
Milord's  payment  be  double ;  we  sent  Berger  to  say 
we  did  not  wish  for  the  boat. 

[The  statement  that  "Shelley  went  from  Lucerne 
with  the  two,  with  merely  £26^  to  England,  along 
the  Rhine  in  bateaux,"  refers  of  course  to  what  had 
taken  place  in  18 14,  on  the  occasion  of  Shelley's 
elopement  with  Mary  Godwin,  and  has  no  bearing 
on  the  transactions  of  18 16;  it  must  be  cited  by 
Polidori  as  showing  how  inexpensively  three  persons 
could,  if  so  minded,  travel  from  Switzerland  to  Eng- 
land. The  other  references  to  Shelley's  domestic 
affairs  etc.  are  very  curious.  Except  as  to  his  own 
personal  admiration  for  Queen  Mab,  Polidori  is  here 
evidently  putting  down  (but  not  in  the  words  of 
Shelley  himself,  who  would  assuredly  not  have  said 
that  he  had  "seduced"  Mary  Godwin)  such  details 
as  the  poet  imparted  to  him.  They  are  far  from 
accurate.  To  some  extent,  Polidori  may  have  re- 
membered imperfectly  what  Shelley  told  him,  but 
I  think  the  latter  must  have  been  responsible  for 
most  of  the  fables ;  and  generally  it  would  appear 
that   Shelley  gave   free   rein   to   his   inclination  for 


romancing  or  for  over-stating  matters,  possibly  per- 
ceiving that  Polidori  was  credulous,  and  capable  of 
swallowing  whatever  he  was  told,  the  more  eccentric 
the  better.  To  say  that  Shelley,  before  he,  at  the 
age  of  barely  19,  married  Harriet  Westbrook  in 
181 1,  thought  that  he  was  dying,  and  that  his  only 
practical  motive  for  marrying  her  was  that  she  might 
come  in  for  a  jointure  after  his  decease,  is  no  doubt 
highly  fallacious,  and  even  absurd.  We  have  other 
sources  of  information  as  to  these  occurrences,  especi- 
ally the  letters  of  Shelley  addressed  at  the  time  to 
Jefferson  Hogg,  and  they  tell  a  very  different  tale. 
As  to  his  reason  for  separating  from  Harriet,  Shelley, 
we  perceive,  simply  told  Polidori  that  he  "  found  he 
could  not  agree "  with  her ;  he  said  nothing  as  to 
his  knowing  or  supposing  that  she  had  been  unfaith- 
ful to  him.  Again,  Shelley  was  not  so  boyish  as 
14  when  he  published  a  novel — his  first  novel,  the 
egregious  Zastrozzi ;  the  publication  took  place  in 
1 8 10,  when  he  was  eighteen,  or  at  lowest  seventeen. 
The  statement  that  he  got  ;^ioo  by  "his  second 
work  "  is  worth  considering.  If  "  his  second  work  " 
means,  as  one  might  naturally  suppose  in  this 
connexion,  the  romance  of  St.  Irvyne^  the  sug- 
gestion that  he  got  anything  at  all  by  it,  except  a 
state  of  indebtedness,  is  a  novelty.  But  our  mind 
recurs    to    that    rumoured    and    apparently    really- 


published  though  wholly  untraced  work  of  his,  A 
Poetical  Essay  on  the  Existing  State  of  Things.  This 
poem  was  published,  we  are  told,  for  the  benefit  of 
an  Irish  agitator  or  patriot,  Peter  Finnerty,  and  it 
has  been  elsewhere  averred  that  the  publication  pro- 
duced a  sum  of  nearly  ;^ioo.  The  mention  by 
Polidori  of  ;£"ioo  may  be  surmised  to  refer  to  the 
same  matter,  and  it  tends  so  far  to  confirm  the  idea 
that  the  book  really  existed,  and  even  secured  a 
fair  measure  of  success. — Berger  (who  is  named  in 
connexion  with  Byron  and  the  hire  for  the  boat) 
was,  as  already  noted,  the  Swiss  servant  of  Byron, 
brought  from  London.] 

May  31. — Breakfasted  with  Shelley;  read  Italian 
with  Mrs.  S[helley]  ;  dined  ;  went  into  a  boat  with  Mrs. 
S[helley],  and  rowed  all  night  till  9 ;  tea'd  together ; 
chatted,  etc. 

June  I. — Breakfasted  with  S[helley];  entered  a 
caleche ;  took  Necker's  house  for  100  louis  for  8  or 
365  days.  Saw  several  houses  for  Shelley ;  one  good. 
Dined  ;  went  in  the  boat ;  all  tea'd  together. 

[Necker's  house,  here  mentioned,  would  apparently 
be  the  same  as  the  Villa  Diodati,  or  Villa  Belle  Rive 
— for  that  is  the  house  which  Byron  did  in  fact  rent. 
"  Necker "  may  be  understood  as  meaning  (rather 
than  the  famous  Minister  of  Finance  in  France)  his 
widow,  since  Necker  himself  had  died  a  dozen  years 


before.  The  sum  of  loo  louis  seems  to  be  specified 
here  as  the  rent  for  a  year,  and  the  phrase  about  8 
days  must  indicate  that  the  house  could  be  tenanted 
for  that  short  space  of  time — or  let  us  say  a  week — at 
a  proportionate  payment.  This  rate  of  rental  appears 
low,  and  it  differs  both  from  what  was  said  under  the 
date  of  May  26,  and  from  what  we  shall  find  noted 
shortly  afterwards,  June  6.  Thus  I  feel  a  little  doubt 
whether  "  Necker's  house  "  is  not  in  reality  something 
quite  different  from  the  Villa  Diodati.  Byron's 
proposed  tenancy  of  the  former  might  possibly  have 
been  cancelled.] 

Rogers  the  subject :  L[or]d  B[yron]  thinks  good 
poet ;  malicious.  Marquis  of  Lansdowne  being  praised 
by  a  whole  company  as  a  happy  man,  having  all  good, 
R[ogers]  said,  "  But  how  horridly  he  carves  turbot ! " 
Ward  having  reviewed  his  poems  in  the  Quarterly^ 
having  a  bad  heart  and  being  accused  of  learning  his 
speeches,  L[ord]  B[yron],  upon  malignantly  hinting 
to  him  [Rogers]  how  he  had  been  carved,  heard  him 
say  :  "  I  stopped  his  speaking  though  by  my  epigram, 
which  is — 

"  *  Ward  has  no  heart,  they  say,  but  I  deny  it ; 
He  has  a  heart,  and  gets  his  speeches  by  it.'" 

[This  must  be  the  Honourable  John  William  Ward, 
who  was  created  Earl  of  Dudley  in  1827,  and  died  in 
1833.     Miss   Berry,  the    ^««j/-adopted    daughter   of 


Horace  Walpole,  told  Madame  de  Stael  in  1813  that 
the  latter  had  "undertaken  two  miracles — to  make 
Ward  poli  envers  les/emmes  et  pieux  envers  Dzeu."'\ 

On  L[ord]  B[yron's]  writing  a  poem  to  his  sister 
wherein  he  says,  "  And  when  friends  e'en  paused  and 
love,"  etc.,  Rogers,  going  to  some  one,  said  :  "  I  don't 
know  what  L[ord]  B[yron]  means  by  pausing ;  I 
called  upon  him  every  day."  He  did  this  regularly, 
telling  L[ord]  B[yron]  all  the  bad  news  with  a  malig- 
nant grin.  When  L[ord]  B[yron]  wrote  "Weep, 
daughter  of  a  royal  line,"  Rogers  came  to  him  one 
day,  and,  taking  up  the  Courier,  said  :  "  I  am  sure 
now  you're  attacked  there  ;  now  don't  mind  them  "  ; 
and  began  reading,  looking  every  now  and  then  at 
L[ord]  B[yron]  with  an  anxious  searching  eye,  till  he 
came  to  "that  little  poet  and  disagreeable  person, 
Mr.  Samuel — '*  when  he  tore  the  paper,  and  said  : 
"  Now  this  must  be  that  fellow  Croker,"  and  wished 
L[ord]  B[yron]  to  challenge  him.  He  talked  of  going 
to  Cumberland  with  L[ord]  B[yron],  and,  asking  him 
how  he  meant  to  travel,  L[ord]  B[yron]  said  "With 
four  horses."  Rogers  went  to  company,  and  said  : 
"  It  is  strange  to  hear  a  man  talking  of  four  horses 
who  seals  his  letters  with  a  tallow  candle." 

Shelley  is  another  instance  of  wealth  inducing 
relations  to  confine  for  madness,  and  was  only  saved 
by  his  physician    being  honest.     He  was  betrothed 


from  a  boy  to  his  cousin,  for  age ;  another  came  who 
had  as  much  as  he  would  have,  and  she  left  him 
"  because  he  was  an  atheist."  When  starving,  a  friend 
to  whom  he  had  given  ;^2000,  though  he  knew  it,  would 
not  come  near  him.  Heard  Mrs.  Shelley  repeat 
Coleridge  on  Pitt,  which  persuades  me  he  is  a  poet. 

[Here  we  see  that  Shelley  must  have  repeated  to 
Polidori  that  famous  story  of  his  about  the  attempt 
of  his  father  to  consign  him,  when  he  was  an  Eton 
student,  to  a  madhouse,  and  about  the  zealous  and 
ultimately  successful  effort  of  Dr.  Lind,  the  Eton 
physicist,  to  save  him  from  that  disastrous  fate.  Next 
comes  the  statement  that  Shelley  was  betrothed  from 
boyhood  to  his  beautiful  cousin  Miss  Harriet  Grove — 
the  marriage  to  take  effect  when  he  should  attain  his 
majority  ;  an  account  which  we  know  to  be  substanti- 
ally true.  The  conduct  of  Miss  Grove — or  perhaps 
we  should  rather  say  of  her  parents  as  dictating  her 
action — is  placed  in  an  unfavourable  light ;  for  it  is 
plainly  suggested  that  she  abandoned  Shelley  for 
another  bridegroom  on  the  ground  of  a  more  immediate 
advantage  in  worldly  position — the  allegation  of 
Percy's  atheism  being  more  a  pretext  than  a  genuine 
motive.  The  passage  about  a  friend  to  whom  Shelley 
had  given  £2000  must  (I  suppose  beyond  a  doubt) 
refer  to  Godwin  ;  but  it  is  evident  that  Shelley,  in 

speaking  to  Polidori,  a  comparative  stranger,  and  this 


in  the  presence  of  Mary,  had  the  delicacy  to  suppress 
the  name.  The  charge  thus  alleged  against  Godwin 
is  not,  I  conceive,  accurate,  although  it  approximated 
towards  accuracy.  I  am  not  clear  that  Shelley,  up  to 
the  time  when  he  thus  spoke  in  June  1816,  had  given 
Godwin  money  amounting  to  quite  so  large  a  total  as 
;^2000  ;  but  at  any  rate  he  cannot  have  done  so  up  to 
the  time  when  he  was  himself  "starving" — or,  in 
milder  terms,  when  he  was  in  very  great  and  harass- 
ing straits  for  money  and  daily  subsistence.  That 
time  was  late  in  18 14,  and  in  the  first  days  of  181 5. 
It  is  true  that,  even  before  this  date,  he  had  done 
something  to  relieve  Godwin ;  but  it  was  only,  I  think, 
in  April  18 16  that  he  gave  the  philosopher  a  really 
very  considerable  sum — £1000  in  a  lump.  I  say  all 
this  for  the  sake  of  biographical  truth,  and  not  with  a 
view  to  vindicating  Godwin — whose  policy  of  bleeding 
Shelley  in  purse  while  he  cut  him  in  person  has  in 
some  recent  years  been  denounced  with  increasing 
vehemence,  and  it  was  indeed  wholly  indefensible. 
But  human  nature — and  especially  the  human  nature 
of  an  abstract  speculator  like  Godwin — is  capable  of 
very  odd  self-deceptions ;  and  I  dare  say  Godwin 
thought  he  was  equally  and  strictly  right  in  both  his 
proceedings — right  in  getting  large  sums  of  money 
out  of  Shelley,  for  a  reforming  sage  ought  to  be  sub- 
sidized by  his  neophytes — and  right  in  repudiating 


and  abusing  Shelley,  for  the  latter  had  applied 
Godwin's  own  anti-matrimonial  theories  to  that  one 
instance  of  practice  which  the  philosopher  did  not  at 
all  relish. — To  proceed  to  another  point  The  lines 
of  Coleridge  on  Pitt  which  Polidori  heard  recited  by- 
Mrs.  Shelley  are  to  be  sought  for  in  his  early  poem 
entitled  Fire^  Famine ^  and  Slaughter.  In  that  poem 
(need  I  say  it  ?)  those  three  Infernal  Deities  are  repre- 
sented as  meeting  in  '*  a  desolated  tract  in  La  Vendee  " ; 
and  on  mutual  enquiry  they  learn  that  one  and  the 
same  person  has  sent  them  thither  all  three. 

"Letters  four  do  form  his  name" — 

the  name  Pitt.  Famine  and  Slaughter  finally  agree 
that  the  multitude,  exasperated  by  their  sufferings, 
shall  turn  upon  Pitt  and  rend  him — 

^  "  They  shall  tear  him  limb  from  limb  !  " 

Fire,  who  has  just  come  from  doing  Pitt's  errands  in 
Ireland,  thinks  this  ungrateful :  she  concludes  the 
poem  with  the  memorable  words — 

"Ninety  months  he,  by  my  troth, 
Hath  richly  catered  for  you  both  : 
And  in  an  hour  would  you  repay 
An  eight  years'  work  ? — Away,  away  ! 
I  alone  am  faithful — / 
Cling  to  him  everlastingly?^ 

The  poem  would  be  well  worth  quoting  here  in  full, 
but  is  somewhat  too  long  for  such  a  purpose,] 


A  young  girl  of  eighteen,  handsome,  died  within 
half-an-hour  yesterday :  buried  to-day.  Geneva  is 
fortified — legumes  growing  in  the  fosses. — Went 
about  linen  and  plate. 

June  2. — Breakfasted  with  Shelley.  Read  Tasso 
with  Mrs.  Shelley.     Took  child  for  vaccination. 

[The  child  in  question  must  seemingly  have  been 
the  beloved  infant  William  Shelley,  born  in  January 
of  this  same  year.  Polidori  does  not  appear  to  have 
vaccinated  the  boy  with  his  own  hand  ;  for  I  find  in 
a  letter  of  his  written  to  his  family  towards  June  20 : 
"Got  a  gold  chain  and  a  seal  as  a  fee  from  an 
Englishman  here  for  having  his  child  inoculated." 
As  Polidori  speaks  only  of  "an  Englishman  here," 
not  naming  Shelley,  it  looks  as  if  he  purposely  with- 
held from  his  family  the  knowledge  that  he  had  come 
into  contact  with  that  wicked  and  dangerous  char- 
acter. I  wish  I  knew  what  has  become  of  the 
"  gold  chain  and  seal,"  the  gift  of  Shelley :  but  I 
could  not  on  enquiry  find  that  anything  whatever 
was  known  about  them  by  my  then  surviving 
relatives.  I  possess  a  letter  on  the  subject,  November 
4,  1890,  from  my  sister  Christina.] 

Found  gates  shut  because  of  church-service.  Went 
in  search  of  Rossi.  Saw  a  village  where  lads  and  lasses, 
soubrettes  and  soldiers,  were  dancing,  to  a  tabor  and 
drum,  waltzes,  cotillons,  etc.    Dr.  R[ossi]  not  at  home. 

S^CHERON  117 

Dined  with  S[helley] ;  went  to  the  lake  with  them 
and  L[ord]  B[yron].  Saw  their  house  ;  fine.  Coming 
back,  the  sunset,  the  mountains  on  one  side,  a  dark 
mass  of  outline  on  the  other,  trees,  houses  hardly- 
visible,  just  distinguishable  ;  a  white  light  mist,  rest- 
ing on  the  hills  around,  formed  the  blue  into  a 
circular  dome  bespangled  with  stars  only  and  lighted 
by  the  moon  which  gilt  the  lake.  The  dome  of 
heaven  seemed  oval.  At  10  landed  and  drank  tea. 
Madness,  Grattan,  Curran,  etc.,  subjects. 

[The  "house"  of  Shelley  and  his  party  which 
is  here  mentioned  is  the  Campagne  Chapuis,  or 
Campagne  Mont  Alegre,  near  Cologny — distant 
from  the  Villa  Diodati  only  about  8  minutes'  walk. 
Shelley  and  the  two  ladies  had  entered  this  house 
towards  the  end  of  May,  prior  to  the  actual  settle- 
ment of  Lord  Byron  in  the  Villa  Diodati.  The 
Shelleys,  as  we  have  more  than  once  heard  from 
this  Diary,  kept  up  the  practice  of  drinking  tea — a 
beverage  always  cherished  by  Percy  Bysshe.  The 
topics  of  conversation,  we  observe,  were  madness — 
probably  following  on  from  what  Shelley  had  on 
the  previous  day  said  about  his  own  supposed 
madness  while  at  Eton  ;  also  Curran,  whom  Shelley 
had  seen  a  little,  but  without  any  sympathy,  in 
Dublin — and  Grattan,  who,  so  far  as  I  am  aware 
was  not  personally  known  to  the  poet.] 


June  3. — Went  to  Pictet's  on  English  day. 

June  4. — Went  about  Diodati's  house.  Then  to 
see  Shelley,  who,  with  Mrs.  Shelley,  came  over. 
Went  in  the  evening  to  a  musical  society  of  about 
ten  members  at  M.  Odier's  ;  who  read  a  very  in- 
teresting memoir  upon  the  subject  of  whether  a 
physician  should  in  any  case  tell  a  lover  the  health 
[of  the  lady  of  his  affections],  or  anything  that, 
from  being  her  physician,  comes  to  his  knowledge. 
Afterwards  had  tea  and  politics.  Saw  there  a  Dr. 
Gardner,  whom  I  carried  home  in  the  caleche.  Odier 
invited  me  for  every  Wednesday. 

Came  home.  Went  on  the  lake  with  Shelley  and 
Lord  Byron,  who  quarrelled  with  me. 

[This  might  seem  to  be  the  matter  to  which  Professor 
Dowden  in  his  Life  of  Shelley  (following  Moore's  Life 
of  Byron  and  some  other  authorities)  thus  briefly 
refers.  "Towards  Shelley  the  Doctor's  feeling  was 
a  constantly  self-vexing  jealousy  [I  cannot  say 
that  the  Diary  of  Polidori  has  up  to  this  point 
borne  the  least  trace  of  any  such  soreness] ;  and 
on  one  occasion,  suffering  from  the  cruel  wrong  of 
having  been  a  loser  in  a  sailing-match,  he  went  so 
far  as  to  send  Shelley  a  challenge,  which  was  received 
with  a  fit  of  becoming  laughter.  '  Recollect,'  said 
Byron,  *  that,  though  Shelley  has  some  scruples  about 
duelling,  I  have  none  and  shall  be  at  all  times  ready 


to  take  his  place.' "  Professor  Dowden  does  not  define 
the  date  when  this  squabble  occurred  ;  but  the  con- 
text in  which  he  sets  it  suggests  a  date  anterior  to 
June  22,  when  Byron  and  Shelley  started  off  on  their 
week's  excursion  upon  the  Lake  of  Geneva.  The 
very  curt  narrative  of  Polidori  does  not  however  in- 
dicate any  sailing-match,  nor  any  challenge,  whether 
"  sent "  or  verbally  delivered  at  the  moment ;  and 
perhaps  it  may  be  more  reasonable  to  suppose  that 
this  present  quarrel  with  Byron  was  a  different  affair 
altogether — an  instance  when  Polidori  happened  to 
strike  Byron's  knee  with  an  oar.  I  shall  recur  to 
the  duelling  matter  farther  on.] 

June  ^. — At  12  went  to  Hentsch  about  Diodati ; 
thence  to  Shelley's.  Read  Tasso.  Home  in  caleche. 
Dined  with  them  in  the  public  room  :  walked  in  the 
garden.  Then  dressed,  and  to  Odier's,  who  talked 
with  me  about  somnambulism.  Was  at  last  seated, 
and  conversed  with  some  Genevoises  :  so  so — too 
fine.  Quantities  of  English ;  speaking  amongst 
themselves,  arms  by  their  sides,  mouths  open  and 
eyes  glowing ;  might  as  well  make  a  tour  of  the 
Isle  of  Dogs.  Odier  gave  me  yesterday  many 
articles  of  Bibliotheque — translated  and  rediges  by 
himself,  and  to-day  a  manuscript  on  somnambulism. 

[After  the  word  Bibliotheque  Charlotte  Polidori  has 
put  some  other  word,  evidently  intended  to  imitate 


the  look  of  the  word  written  by  Dr.  Polidori :  it  can- 
not be  read.  The  subject  of  somnambulism  was  one 
which  had  engaged  Polidori's  attention  at  an  early- 
age  :  he  printed  in  1815  a  Disputatio  Medica  Inaugu- 
ralis  de  Oneirodynia,  as  a  thesis  for  the  medical  degree 
which  he  then  obtained  in  Edinburgh.] 

June  6. — At  i  up — breakfasted.  With  Lord  Byron 
in  the  caleche  to  Hentsch,  where  we  got  the  paper 
making  us  masters  of  Diodati  for  six  months  to 
November  i  for  125  louis. 

[See  my  remarks  under  June  i  as  to  "Necker's 
house,"  and  the  rent  to  be  paid.  Up  to  November 
I  would  be  barely  five  months,  not  six.] 

Thence  to  Shelley  :  back :  dinner.  To  Shelley  iti 
boat :  driven  on  shore  :  home.  Looked  over  inventory 
and  Berger's  accounts.     Bed. 

June  7. — Up  at .    Pains  in  my  loins  and  languor 

in  my  bones.     Breakfasted — looked  over  inventory. 

Saw  L[ord]  B[yron]  at  dinner ;  wrote  to  my  father 
and  Shelley ;  went  in  the  boat  with  L[ord]  B[yron] ; 
agreed  with  boatman  for  English  boat.  Told  us 
Napoleon  had  caused  him  to  get  his  children.  Saw 
Shelley  over  again. 

[It  seems  rather  curious  that  Polidori,  living  so 
near  Shelley,  should  now  have  had  occasion  to  write 
to  him  ;  ought  we  to  infer  that  the  challenge  was 
now  at  last  sent  ?     Perhaps  so ;    and  perhaps,  when 


Polidori  "  saw  Shelley  over  again,'*  the  poet  laughed 
the  whole  foolish  matter  off. — The  boatman's  state- 
ment that  "Napoleon  had  caused  him  to  get  his 
children"  means,  I  suppose,  that  he  wanted  to  rear 
children,  to  meet  Napoleon's  conscriptions  for 

June  8. — Up  at  9 ;  went  to  Geneva  on  horseback, 
and  then  to  Diodati  to  see  Shelley  ;  back  ;  dined  ; 
into  the  new  boat — Shelley's, — and  talked,  till  the 
ladies'  brains  whizzed  with  giddiness,  about  idealism. 
Back  ;  rain  ;  puffs  of  wind.     Mistake. 

June  9. — Up  by  i  :  breakfasted.  Read  Lucian. 
Dined.  Did  the  same  :  tea'd.  Went  to  Hentsch  : 
came  home.  Looked  at  the  moon,  and  ordered 

June  10. — Up  at  9.  Got  things  ready  for  going  to 
Diodati ;  settled  accounts,  etc.  Left  at  3 ;  went  to 
Diodati ;  went  back  to  dinner,  and  then  returned. 
Shelley  etc.  came  to  tea,  and  we  sat  talking  till  11. 
My  rooms  are  so  : 

Picture-gallery.            1 



June  1 1. — Wrote  home  and  to  Pryse  Gordon.  Read 
Lucian.  Went  to  Shelley's ;  dined  ;  Shelley  in  the 
evening  with  us. 


June  12. — Rode  to  town.  Subscribed  to  a  circulat- 
ing library,  and  went  in  the  evening  to  Madame 
Odier.  Found  no  one.  Miss  0[dier],  to  make  time 
pass,  played  the  Ranz  des  Vaches — plaintive  and  war- 
like. People  arrived.  Had  a  confab  with  Dr.  O. 
about  perpanism,^  etc.  Began  dancing :  waltzes,  cotil- 
lons, French  country-dances  and  English  ones  :  first 
time  I  shook  my  feet  to  French  measure.  Ladies  all 
waltzed  except  the  English :  they  looked  on  frown- 
ing. Introduced  to  Mrs.  Slaney :  invited  me  for  next 
night.  You  ask  without  introduction  ;  the  girls  refuse 
those  they  dislike.  Till  12.  Went  and  slept  at  the 

June  13. — Rode  home,  and  to  town  again.  Went 
to  Mrs.  Slaney  :  a  ball.  Danced  and  played  at  chess. 
Walked  home  in  thunder  and  lightning:  lost  my 
way.  Went  back  in  search  of  some  one — fell  upon 
the  police.     Slept  at  the  Balance. 

June  14. — Rode  home — rode  almost  all  day.  Dined 
with  Rossi,  who  came  to  us ;  shrewd,  quick,  manly- 
minded  fellow  ;  like  him  very  much.  Shelley  etc.  fell 
in  in  the  evening. 

June  1 5. — Up  late  ;  began  my  letters.  Went  to 
Shelley's.      After   dinner,  jumping   a  wall   my  foot 

^  The  word  written  is  perpanism,  or  possibly  perhanism.  Is 
there  any  such  word,  medical  or  other  ?  Should  it  perchance  be 
Pyrrhonism  ? 


slipped  and  I  strained  my  left  ankle.  Shelley  etc. 
came  in  the  evening ;  talked  of  my  play  etc.,  which 
all  agreed  was  worth  nothing.  Afterwards  Shelley 
and  I  had  a  conversation  about  principles, — whether 
man  was  to  be  thought  merely  an  instrument. 

[The  accident  to  Polidori's  ankle  was  related  thus 
by  Byron  in  a  letter  addressed  from  Ouchy  to  John 
Murray.  "  Dr.  Polidori  is  not  here,  but  at  Diodati ; 
left  behind  in  hospital  with  a  sprained  ankle,  acquired 
in  tumbling  from  a  wall — he  can't  jump."  Thomas 
Moore,  in  his  Life  of  Byron^  supplies  some  details. 
"  Mrs.  Shelley  was,  after  a  shower  of  rain,  walking  up 
the  hill  to  Diodati ;  when  Byron,  who  saw  her  from 
his  balcony  where  he  was  standing  with  Polidori,  said 
to  the  latter:  '  Now  you  who  wish  to  be  gallant  ought 
to  jump  down  this  small  height,  and  offer  your  arm.* 
Polidori  tried  to  do  so  ;  but,  the  ground  being  wet, 
his  foot  slipped  and  he  sprained  his  ankle.  Byron 
helped  to  carry  him  in,  and,  after  he  was  laid  on  the 
sofa,  went  up-stairs  to  fetch  a  pillow  for  him.  *  Well, 
I  did  not  believe  you  had  so  much  feeling,'  was 
Polidori's  ungracious  remark." 

The  play  written  by  Polidori,  which  received  so 
little  commendation,  was,  I  suppose,  the  Cajetan  which 
is  mentioned  at  an  early  point  in  the  Journal.  There 
was  another  named  Boadicea,  in  prose  ;  very  poor 
stuff,  and   I  suppose  written    at   an  early  date.     A 


different  drama  named  Ximenes  was  afterwards  pub- 
lished :  certainly  its  merit — whether  as  a  drama  or  as 
a  specimen  of  poetic  writing — is  slender.  The  con- 
versation between  Shelley  and  Polidori  about  "  prin- 
ciples "  and  "  whether  man  was  to  be  thought  merely 
an  instrument "  appears  to  have  some  considerable 
analogy  with  a  conversation  to  which  Mary  Shelley 
and  Professor  Dowden  refer,  and  which  raised  in  her 
mind  a  train  of  thought  conducing  to  her  invention 
of  Frankenstein  and  his  Man-monster.  Mary,  however, 
speaks  of  Byron  (not  Polidori)  as  the  person  who 
conversed  with  Shelley  on  that  occasion.  Professor 
Dowden,  paraphrasing  some  remarks  made  by  Mary, 
says  :  "  One  night  she  sat  listening  to  a  conversation 
between  the  two  poets  at  Diodati.  What  was  the 
nature,  they  questioned,  of  the  principle  of  life  ? 
Would  it  ever  be  discovered,  and  the  power  of  com- 
municating life  be  acquired  ?  Perhaps  a  corpse  would 
be  reanimated  ;  galvanism  had  given  token  of  such 
things.     That  night  Mary  lay  sleepless,"  etc.] 

June  1 6. — Laid  up.  Shelley  came,  and  dined  and 
slept  here,  with  Mrs.  S[helley]  and  Miss  Clare 
Clairmont.     Wrote  another  letter. 

[This  is  the  first  instance  in  which  the  name  of  Miss 
Clairmont  is  given  correctly  by  Polidori ;  but  it  may  be 
presumed  that  he  had,  several  days  back,  found  out  that 
she  was  not  properly  to  be  termed  "  Miss  Godwin."] 


June  17. — Went  into  the  town  ;  dined  with  Shelley 
etc.  here.  Went  after  dinner  to  a  ball  at  Madame 
Odier's;  where  I  was  introduced  to  Princess  Something 
and  Countess  Potocka,  Poles,  and  had  with  them 
a  long  confab.  Attempted  to  dance,  but  felt  such 
horrid  pain  was  forced  to  stop.  The  ghost-stories 
are  begun  by  all  but  me. 

[This  date  serves  to  rectify  a  small  point  in  literary 
history.  We  all  know  that  the  party  at  Cologny — 
consisting  of  Byron  and  Polidori  on  the  one  hand, 
and  of  Shelley  and  Mrs.  Shelley  and  Miss  Clairmont 
on  the  other — undertook  to  write  each  of  them  an 
independent  ghost-story,  or  story  of  the  supernatural ; 
the  result  being  Byron's  fragment  of  The  Vampyre^ 
Polidori's  complete  story  of  The  Vampyre^  and  Mrs. 
Shelley's  renowned  Frankenstein.  Shelley  and  Miss 
Clairmont  proved  defaulters.  It  used  to  be  said  that 
Matthew  Gregory  Lewis,  author  of  The  Monk,  had 
been  mixed  up  in  the  same  project;  but  this  is  a 
mistake,  for  Lewis  only  reached  the  Villa  Diodati 
towards  the  middle  of  August.  Professor  Dowden 
states  as  follows  :  "  During  a  few  days  of  ungenial 
weather  which  confined  them  to  the  house  [by  "  them  " 
Shelley  and  the  two  ladies  are  evidently  meant,  and 
perhaps  also  Byron  and  Polidori]  some  volumes  of 
ghost -stories,  Fantasmagoriana,  ou  Recueil  cT  Histoires 
d' Apparitions,  de  Spectres,  Revenans,  etc.  (a  collection 


translated  into  French  from  the  German)  fell  into 
their  hands,  and  its  perusal  probably  excited  and 
overstrained  Shelley's  imagination."  Professor  Dow- 
den  then  proceeds  to  narrate  an  incident  connected 
with  Coleridge's  Christabel,  of  which  more  anon  ;  and 
he  says  that  immediately  after  that  incident  Byron 
proposed,  "  We  will  each  write  a  ghost-story  " — a 
suggestion  to  which  the  others  assented.  It  is  only 
fair  to  observe  that  Professor  Dowden's  account  corre- 
sponds with  that  which  Polidori  himself  supplied  in  the 
proem  to  his  tale  of  The  Vampyre,  But  Polidori's 
Diary  proves  that  this  is  not  absolutely  correct. 
The  ghost-stories  (prompted  by  the  Fantasmagoriana^ 
a  poor  sort  of  book)  had  already  been  begun  by  Byron, 
Shelley,  Mrs.  Shelley,  and  Miss  Clairmont,  not  later 
than  June  17,  whereas  the  Christaber\nc\6.&vi\.  happened 
on  June  18.  Byron's  story,  as  I  have  already  said, 
was  The  Vampyre^  left  a  fragment ;  Shelley's  is  stated 
to  have  been  some  tale  founded  on  his  own  early 
experiences — nothing  farther  is  known  of  it ;  Mrs. 
Shelley's  was  eventually  Frankenstein^  but,  from  the 
details  which  have  been  published  as  to  the  first  con- 
ception of  this  work,  we  must  assume  that  what  she 
had  begun  by  June  17  was  something  different :  of 
Miss  Clairmont's  story  no  sort  of  record  remains. 

The  Countess  Potocka,  whom   Polidori    m.entlons, 
was  a  lady  belonging  to  the  highest  Polish  nobility. 


grand-niece  of  Stanislaus  Augustus  Poniatovvski, 
who  had  been  King  of  Poland  up  to  1798.  She 
was  daughter  of  Count  Tyszkiewicz,  and  married 
Count  Potocki,  and  afterwards  Count  Wonsowicz. 
Born  in  1776,  she  lived  on  to  1867,  when  she  died 
in  Paris,  a  leader  of  society  under  the  Second  Empire. 
Thus  she  was  forty  years  old  when  Polidori  saw 
her.  She  wrote  memoirs  of  her  life,  going  up  to 
1820  :  a  rather  entertaining  book,  dealing  with  many 
important  transactions,  especially  of  the  period  of 
Napoleon  I :  she  gives  one  to  understand  that  this 
supreme  potentate  was  rather  susceptible  to  her 
charms,  but  a  rival  compatriot,  the  Countess  Wa- 
lewska,  was  then  in  the  ascendant.  I  have  seen 
reproductions  from  two  portraits  of  the  Countess 
Potocka,  both  of  them  ascribed  to  Angelica  Kauff- 
ma"n  :  one  of  these  shows  a  strikingly  handsome 
young  woman,  with  dark  eyes  of  singular  brilliancy 
and  sentiment.  Its  date  cannot  be  later  than  1807, 
when  the  painter  died,  and  may  probably  be  as 
early  as  1800.] 

June  18. — My  leg  much  worse.  Shelley  and  party 
here.  Mrs.  S[helley]  called  me  her  brother  (younger). 
Began  my   ghost-story^  after   tea.     Twelve   o'clock, 

1  The  "ghost-story"  which  Polidori  published  was  The 
Vampyre\  see  p.  128  as  to  his  having  begun  in  the  first  in- 
stance some  different  story. 


really  began  to  talk  ghostly.  L[oid]  B[yron]  re- 
peated some  verses  of  Coleridge's  Christabel,  of  the 
witch's  breast ;  when  silence  ensued,  and  Shelley, 
suddenly  shrieking  and  putting  his  hands  to  his  head, 
ran  out  of  the  room  with  a  candle.  Threw  water  in 
his  face,  and  after  gave  him  ether.  He  was  looking 
at  Mrs.  S[helley],  and  suddenly  thought  of  a  woman 
he  had  heard  of  who  had  eyes  instead  of  nipples, 
which,  taking  hold  of  his  mind,  horrified  him. — He 
married  ;  and,  a  friend  of  his  liking  his  wife,  he  tried 
all  he  could  to  induce  her  to  love  him  in  turn.  He  is 
surrounded  by  friends  who  feed  upon  him,  and  draw 
upon  him  as  their  banker.  Once,  having  hired  a 
house,  a  man  wanted  to  make  him  pay  more,  and 
came  trying  to  bully  him,  and  at  last  challenged  him. 
Shelley  refused,  and  was  knocked  down  ;  coolly  said 
that  would  not  gain  him  his  object,  and  was  knocked 
down  again. — Slaney  called. 

[Some  of  these  statements  are  passing  strange,  and 
most  of  them  call  for  a  little  comment.  First  we 
hear  that  Mrs.  Shelley  called  Polidori  her  younger 
brother — a  designation  which  may  have  been  endear- 
ing but  was  not  accurate  ;  for,  whereas  the  doctor  was 
aged  20  at  this  date,  Mrs.  Shelley  was  aged  only  18. 
Next,  Polidori,  after  tea,  began  his  ghost-story.  This, 
according  to  Mrs.  Shelley,  was  a  tale  about  "  a  skull- 
headed  lady,  who  was  so  punished  for  peeping  through 


a  keyhole — what  to  see,  I  forget;  something  very 
shocking  and  wrong,  of  course."  So  says  Mrs. 
Shelley  :  but  Polidori's  own  statement  is  that  the  tale 
which  he  at  first  began  was  the  one  published  under 
the  title  of  Ernestus  Berchtold,  which  contains  nothing 
about  a  skull-headed  lady  :  some  details  are  given  in 
my  Introduction.  Afterwards  he  took  up  the  notion 
of  a  vampyre,  when  relinquished  by  Byron.  The 
original  story,  Ernestus  Berchtold,  may  possibly  have 
been  completed  in  18 16  :  at  any  rate  it  was  completed 
at  some  time,  and  published  in  18 19,  soon  after  The 
Vampyre.  Then  comes  the  incident  (first  published 
in  my  edition  of  Shelley's  poems  in  1870)  of  Byron 
repeating  some  lines  from  Christabel,  and  Shelley, 
who  mixed  them  up  with  some  fantastic  idea  already 
present  to  his  mind,  decamping  with  a  shriek.  The 
lines  from  Christabel  are  these — 

"  Then  drawing  in  her  breath  aloud, 
Like  one  that  shuddered,  she  unbound 
The  cincture  from  beneath  her  breast : 
Her  silken  robe  and  inner  vest 
Dropped  to  her  feet,  and  full  in  view 
Behold  !  her  bosom  and  half  her  side. 
Hideous,  deformed,  and  pale  of  hue — 
A  sight  to  dream  of,  not  to  tell  ! 
And  she  is  to  sleep  by  Christabel ! " 

From  this  incident  Polidori  proceeds  to  three  state- 
ments   regarding    occurrences    in    Shelley's    life ;  it 
may  be  presumed  that  he  had  heard  them  from  the 


poet  in  the  course  of  this  same  evening.     "  A  friend 
of  his  Hking  his  wife,  he  tried  all  he  could  to  induce 
her  to  love  him  in  turn."     Nothing  of  this  sort  appears 
in  the  authenticated    facts   of  Shelley's   life.      It   is 
certain  that,  very  soon  after  he  had  married  Harriet 
Westbrook  in  1811,  hesaw  reason  for  thinking  that 
his  friend  Hogg  "  liked  his  wife,"  both  of  them  being 
then  in  York  ;  but,  so  far  from  "  trying  all  he  could 
to    induce    her    to    love   him    in   turn,"  he   at   once 
took   her   away    from    York    to    Keswick,   and    he 
addressed    letters   of  grave   remonstrance    and    sad 
reproach    to    Hogg,  and   then    for  a  time  broke  off 
all  intercourse  with   him.      The   only   other    matter 
one  knows  of  at  all    relevant  to   this   issue   is  that 
Shelley  alleged  that  afterwards  a  certain  Major  Ryan 
carried  on    an   intrigue    with    Harriet.     He    blamed 
and  resented  her  imputed  frailty,  and  put  it  forward 
as  a  principal  motive  for  his  separating  from  her.     It 
is   certainly   possible   that,  after   the    separation,  he 
told  Harriet  that  she  might  as  well  "  make  the  best 
of  a  bad  job,"  and  adhere  to  Ryan,  since  she  would 
not  adhere  to  her  wedded  husband  :  but  no  indication 
of  any  such  advice  on  his    part   appears    anywhere 
else.     Be  it  understood  that  I  do   not   at  all  affirm 
that  this  suspicion  or   statement  of  Shelley's  about 
Harriet    and    Ryan    was    correct.     I  doubt    it    ex- 
tremely, though  not   venturing   summarily  to  reject 


it.  The  next  point  is  that  Shelley  was  "  surrounded 
by  friends  who  feed  upon  him,  and  draw  upon  him 
as  their  banker."  This  probably  glances  at  Godwin, 
and  perhaps  also  at  Charles  Clairmont,  the  brother  of 
Clare.  Thomas  Love  Peacock  may  likewise  be  in 
question :  not  Leigh  Hunt,  for,  though  the  cap  might 
have  fitted  him  in  and  after  the  year  18 17,  it  did  not 
so  in  the  present  year  18 16,  since  Hunt  was  as  yet 
all  but  unknown  to  our  poet.  Last  comes  the 
funny  statement  about  a  hectoring  landlord  who 
twice  knocked  down  the  non-duelling  author  of 
Queen  Mab.  It  is  difficult  to  guess  what  this  allega- 
tion may  refer  to.  Shelley  had  by  this  time  had 
several  landlords  in  different  parts  of  the  United 
Kingdom  ;  and  quite  possibly  some  of  them  thought 
his  rent  unduly  low,  or  more  especially  his  quarterly 
or  other  instalments  irregularly  paid,  but  who  can 
have  been  the  landlord  who  took  the  law  so  decisively 
into  his  own  hands,  and  found  so  meekly  unresisting 
a  tenant,  I  have  no  idea.  There  was  an  odd  incident 
on  January  19,  18 12,  when  Shelley,  then  living  at 
Keswick,  was  (or  was  said  to  have  been)  struck  down 
senseless  on  the  threshold  of  his  door — seemingly  by 
a  couple  of  robbers.  On  that  occasion,  however,  his 
landlord,  Mr.  Dare,  appeared  in  the  character  of  a 
guardian  angel :  so  we  must  dismiss  any  notion  that 
this  incident,  the  one  which  in  some  of  its  features 


seems  to  come  nearest  the  mark,  is  that  which  Shelley 
so  ingenuously  imparted  to  Polidori.] 

June  19. — Leg  worse  ;  began  my  ghost-story.  Mr. 
S[helley?]  etc.  forth  here.  Bonstetten  and  Rossi 
called.  B[onstetten]  told  me  a  story  of  the  religious 
feuds  in  Appenzel ;  a  civil  war  between  Catholics  and 
Protestants.  Battle  arranged  ;  chief  advances ;  calls 
the  other.  Calls  himself  and  other  fools,  for  battles 
will  not  persuade  of  his  being  wrong.  Other  agreed, 
and  persuaded  them  to  take  the  boundary  rivulet ; 
they  did.     Bed  at  3  as  usual. 

June  20. — My  leg  kept  me  at  home.  Shelley  etc. 

Jmie  21. — Same. 

June  22. — L[ord]  B[yron]  and  Shelley  went  to 
Vevay  ;  Mrs.  S[helley]  and  Miss  Clare  Clairmont 
to  town.  Went  to  Rossi's — had  tired  his  patience. 
Called  on  Odier ;  Miss  reading  Byron. 

[The  expedition  of  Byron  and  Shelley  to  Vevay 
was  that  same  Lake-voyage  which  forms  so  promi- 
nent an  incident  in  their  Swiss  experiences.  Their 
starting  upon  this  expedition  had  hitherto  been  dated 
June  23.  Professor  Dowden  has  expressed  a  doubt 
whether  June  22  would  not  be  the  correct  date,  and 
here  we  find  that  so  it  is.] 

June  23. — Went  to  town ;  apologized  to  Rossi. 
Called  on  Dr.  Slaney  etc.     Walked  to  Mrs.  Shelley. 


Pictet,  Odier,  Slaney,  dined  with  me.  Went  down  to 
Mrs.  S[helley?]  for  the  evening.  Odier  mentioned 
the  cases  of  two  gentlemen  who,  on  taking  the  nitrate 
of  silver,  some  time  after  had  a  blacker  face.  Pictet 
confirmed  it. 

June  24. — Up  at  12.  Dined  down  with  Mrs. 
S[helley]  and  Miss  C[lare]  C[lairmont]. 

[The  dates  hereabouts  become  somewhat  embar- 
rassing. For  the  day  which  I  am  calling  June  24 
Polidori  repeats  June  23  ;  and  he  continues  with  the 
like  sequence  of  days  up  to  June  29,  when,  as  he 
notes,  he  "  found  Lord  Byron  and  Shelley  returned." 
It  seems  to  be  an  established  fact  that  the  day  when 
Shelley  got  back  to  Montalegre  was  July  i  :  he  has 
stated  so,  and  a  note  to  the  Letters  of  Lord  Byron 
states  the  same.  Thus  Polidori  seems  to  have  dropped 
two  days.  One  is  accounted  for  by  substituting  June 
24  for  June  23  ;  and  I  shall  call  the  next  day  June 
26,  though  uncertain  as  to  where  the  second  error 

June  26. — Up.  Mounted  on  horseback :  went  to 
town.  Saw  Mrs.  Shelley:  dined.  To  Dr.  Rossi's 
party  of  physicians :  after  at  Mrs.  S[helley's  ?]. 

June  27. — Up  at  Mrs.  Shelley's  :  dined.  No  caleche 
arrived :  walked  to  G[eneva].  No  horses :  ordered 
saddle-horse.  Walked  to  Rossi's — gone.  Went  to 
the   gate :    found   him.      Obliged   to   break   off  the 


appointment.     Went  to  Odier's.     Met  with  Mr. , 

a  friend  of  Lord  Byron's  father.  Invited  me  to  his 
house:  been  a  long  time  on  the  Continent.  Music, 
ranz  des  vaches,  beautiful.  Rode  two  hours  ;  went 
to  Mrs.  S[helley];  Miss  C[lairmont]  talked  of  a 

[This  last  phrase  is  not  clear  :  does  it  mean  that 
Miss  Clairmont  talked  in  a  soliloquy — talked  to 
herself,  in  such  a  way  as  to  excite  observation?] 

June  28.— All  day  at  Mrs.  S[helley  s]. 

June  29. — Up  at  i  ;  studied ;  down  at  Mrs. 

June  30. — Same. 

July  I. — Went  in  caleche  to  town  with  Mrs. 
S[helley]  and  C[lare]  for  a  ride,  and  to  mass  (which 
we  did  not  go  to,  being  begun).  Dined  at  i.  Went 
to  town  to  Rossi.  Introduced  to  Marchese  Saporati  ; 
together  to  Mr.  Saladin  of  Vaugeron,  Countess 
Breuss,  Calpnafur ;  and  then  to  a  party  of  ladies. 

[The  word  which  I  give  as  Calpnafur  is 
dubious  in  Charlotte  Polidori's  transcript :  it  is 
evidently  one  of  those  words  as  to  which  she  felt 
uncertain,  and  she  wrote  it  as  near  to  Dr.  Polidori's 
script  as  she  could  manage.  The  other  three  names 
— Saporati,  Saladin,  and  Breuss — are  not  elucidated 
in  any  book  I  have  consulted.  Perhaps  Saporati 
ought  to  be  Saporiti — see  p.   149.     There  were  two 


Saladins  of  some  note  in  France  in  the  days  of  the 
Revolution  and  Empire — one  of  them  lived  on  to  1832 ; 
but  I  can  scarcely  think  that  this  Saladin  in  Geneva 
was  of  the  same  race.  He  may  be  the  "  Syndic 
Saladin  "  mentioned  farther  on.] 

Found  Lord  Byron  and  Shelley  returned. 

July  2. — Rain  all  day.  In  the  evening  to  Mrs. 

September  5. — Not  written  my  Journal  till  now 
through  neglect  and  dissipation.  Had  a  long  explanation 
with  S[helley]  and  L[ord]  B[yron]  about  my  conduct 
to  L[ord]  B[yron] ;  threatened  to  shoot  S[helley]  one 
day  on  the  water.  Horses  been  a  subject  of  quarrel 
twice,  Berger  having  accused  me  of  laming  one. 

[Before  this  date,  September  5,  Shelley,  with  Mary 
and  Miss  Clairmont,  had  finally  left  the  neighbour- 
hood of  Geneva ;  they  started  on  August  29  upon 
their  return  journey  to  England.  The  statement  that 
Polidori  "  threatened  to  shoot  Shelley  one  day  on  the 
water"  brings  us  back  again  to  that  question,  of  which 
I  spoke  under  the  date  of  June  4,  about  some  hare- 
brained quarrel  with  Shelley  leading  to  a  challenge 
for  a  duel.  The  natural  inference  from  the  position 
which  this  entry  occupies  in  Polidori's  Diary  certainly 
is  that  the  threat  to  Shelley  occurred  at  some  date 
between  July  2  and  August  28 — not  at  the  earlier 
date  of  June  4 ;  and  so  I  presume  it  more  probably 


did.  We  find  also  that  Polidori's  conduct  in  relation 
to  Byron  was  considered  not  to  be  correct ;  and  this 
formed  the  subject  of  "  a  long  explanation  "  not  only 
with  Byron  himself  but  likewise  with  Shelley.] 

L[ord]  B[yron]  went  to  town  in  pursuit  of  thieves 
who  came  to  steal  the  anchors  after  having  stolen  my 
sail.  Was  refused  permission  to  go  out.  I  went  to 
the  Syndic  Saladin,  and  told  him  I  begged  his  pardon 
for  our  servants,  who  must  have  said  something  in- 
sulting, or  else  he  could  not  have  refused  permission 
to  leave  the  port.  Thieves  attempted  to  break  into 
the  house. 

An  apothecary  sold  some  bad  magnesia  to  L[ord] 
B[yron].  Found  it  bad  by  experiment  of  sulphuric 
acid  colouring  it  red  rose-colour.  Servants  spoke 
about  it.  Appointed  Castan  to  see  experiment; 
came ;  impudent ;  refused  to  go  out ;  collared  him, 
sent  him  out,  broke  spectacles.  Laid  himself  on  a 
wall  for  three  hours ;  refused  to  see  experiments. 
Saw  L[ord]  B[yron],  told  him  his  tale  before  two 
physicians.  Brought  me  to  trial  before  five  judges  ; 
had  an  advocate  to  plead.  I  pleaded  for  myself; 
laughed  at  the  advocate.  Lost  his  cause  on  the  plea 
of  calumny ;  made  me  pay  12  florins  for  the  broken 
spectacles  and  costs.  Magnesia  chiefly  alumina,  as 
proved  by  succenate^  and  carbonate  of  ammonia. 
1  Word  obscurely  written. 

COPPET  137 

Dined  twice  at  Madame  de  Stael's ;  visited  there 
also  ;  met  Madame  de  Broglie  and  M[onsieur  ?] ;  Miss 
Randall ;  two  Roccas  ;  Schlegel ;  Monsignor  Brema  ; 
Dumont ;  Bonstetten ;  Madame  Bottini  ;  Madame 
Mong-elas  ;  young  de  Stael. 

[It  will  be  observed  that  Dr.  Polidori,  although  he 
details  these  various  circumstances  likely  to  create 
some  soreness  between  Lord  Byron  and  himself,  does 
not  here  state  in  express  terms  that  the  poet  had 
parted  with  him.  At  the  end  of  this  entry  for 
September  5  he  does,  however,  give  a  few  words  to 
the  subject,  confirmatory  of  Lord  Byron's  ensuing 
remarks.  Byron,  in  a  good-humoured  spirit,  gave  a 
general  explanation  in  a  letter  addressed  to  John 
Murray  on  January  24,  1817.  He  understood  that 
Polidori  was  "about  to  return  to  England,  to  go  to 
the  Brazils  on  a  medical  speculation  with  the  Danish 
Consul "  (which,  however,  he  did  not  actually  do)  ; 
and  Byron  asked  Murray  to  get  the  Doctor  any 
letters  of  recommendation.  Then  he  adds :  "  He 
understands  his  profession  well,  and  has  no  want  of 
general  talent :  his  faults  are  the  faults  of  a  pardon- 
able vanity  and  youth.  His  remaining  with  me  was 
out  of  the  question.  I  have  enough  to  do  to  manage 
my  own  scrapes ;  and,  as  precepts  without  example 
are  not  the  most  gracious  homilies,  I  thought  it  better 
to  give  him  his  conge :  but  I  know  no  great  harm  of 


him,  and  some  good.  He  is  clever  and  accomplished  ; 
knows  his  profession,  by  all  accounts,  well ;  and  is 
honourable  in  his  dealings,  and  not  at  all  malevolent." 
In  March  1820  Byron  made  a  few  other  observations 
applicable  to  his  intercourse  with  Polidori :  "  The 
sole  companion  of  my  journey  was  a  young  physician 
who  had  to  make  his  way  in  the  world,  and,  having 
seen  very  little  of  it,  was  naturally  and  laudably 
desirous  of  seeing  more  society  than  suited  my 
present  habits  or  my  past  experience.  I  therefore 
presented  him  to  those  gentlemen  of  Geneva  for 
whom  I  had  letters  of  introduction  ;  and,  having  thus 
seen  him  in  a  situation  to  make  his  own  way,  retired 
for  my  own  part  entirely  from  society,  with  the 
exception  of  one  English  family  " — i.  e.  Shelley  and 
his  two  ladies.  At  times,  however,  Byron  was  less 
lenient  to  the  Doctor.  On  June  17,  18 17,  he  wrote 
to  Murray  :  "  I  never  was  much  more  disgusted  with 
any  human  production  than  with  the  eternal  nonsense 
and  tracasseries  and  emptiness  and  ill-humour  and 
vanity  of  that  young  person  :  but  he  has  some  talent, 
and  is  a  man  of  honour,  and  has  dispositions  of 
amendment  in  which  he  has  been  aided  by  a  little 
subsequent  experience,  and  may  turn  out  well." 

It  may  be  hardly  needful  to  state  that  "Madame 
de  Broglie  and  Monsieur"  {i.e.  the  Due  Victor  de 
Broglie)  were  the  daughter  and  son-in-law  of  Madame 

COPPET  139 

de  Stael :  they  were  now  but  very  recently  wedded, 
February  20,  18 16.  Byron  thought  the  youthful  wife 
devoted  to  her  husband,  and  said  "  Nothing  was 
more  pleasing  than  to  see  the  development  of  the 
domestic  affections  in  a  very  young  woman."  Of  the 
two  Roccas,  one  is  remembered  as  Madame  de  Stael's 
second  husband.  He  was  a  very  handsome  officer 
of  Swiss  origin.  They  married  privately  in  181 1, 
she  being  then  aged  about  forty-five,  and  he  twenty- 
two.  He  only  survived  his  wife  about  six  months, 
dying  in  1818.  August  Wilhelm  von  Schlegel  was 
at  this  date  about  forty- nine  years  old,  celebrated  as 
a  translator  of  Shakespear  and  Calderon,  and  as  a 
scholar  of  extensive  range.  He  had  travelled  much 
with  Madame  de  Stael,  who  drew  on  him  for  some 
of  the  ideas  set  forth  in  her  book  De  VAllemagne, 
Monsignor  Brema  is  a  good  deal  mentioned  farther 
on  :  he  was  a  son  of  the  Marchese  di  Brema  (or 
Breme),  who  had  been  a  valuable  Minister  of  the 
Interior  under  the  Napoleonic  regime  in  Italy. 
Dumont,  who  has  been  previously  named  by  Polidori 
as  the  translator  of  Bentham,  was  also  closely 
associated  with  the  great  Mirabeau.] 

At  Vaugeron,  the  Saladins,  Auguste  Mathould, 
Rossi,  Jacques  Naple  [?],  Brelaz,  Clemann,  Countess 
Mouskinpouskin,  Breuss,  Abate  Gatelier,  Toffettheim 
e   figlio,   Foncet,    Saussure,   Lord   Breadalbane    and 

140-  THE    DIARY   OF    POLIDORI 

family,  a  ball ;  Saladin  of  Maligny,  Slaneys,  two 
balls ;  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Freckton  White,  Galstons  (Miss 
etc.  sisters),  a  ball ;  Lord  Bingham,  Lord  F.  Cunning- 
ham, Lord  Belgray,  a  ball ;  Mr.  Tillotson  St.  Aubyn, 
Mrs.  Trevanion,  Valence  Meers,  R.  Simmons,  Lloyd, 
Princess  Jablonski,  Lady  Hamilton  Dalrymple, 
Odiers,  Lord  Kinnoul,  Somers,  Lord  Glenorchy,  Mr. 
Evans,  Coda  (songstress),  M.  G.  Lewis,  Mrs.  Davies, 
Mr.  Pictet,  Mr.  Hobhouse,  Dr.  Gardner,  Caravella, 
Shelleys,  Sir  John  St.  Aubyn. 

[Most  of  these  numerous  names  must  be  left  to 
themselves  :  several  of  them  are  hereafter  commented, 
often  caustically,  by  Polidori  himself  Saussure  is 
not  the  more  celebrated  naturalist  and  traveller, 
Horace  Benedict,  who  died  in  1799;  but  is  his  son, 
Nicolas  Theodore,  who  cooperated  largely  with  the 
father,  and  produced  an  important  book  of  his  own, 
Recherches  sur  la  Vegetation.  Born  in  1767,  he  lived 
on  to  1845.  Mrs.  Trevanion  may  be  supposed  to 
have  belonged  to  the  same  family  as  a  certain  Mr. 
Trevanion  who  figured  very  discreditably  in  the 
history  of  that  Medora  Leigh  who  was  the  daughter 
of  the  Honourable  Mrs.  Leigh  (Byron's  half  sister) 
and  ostensibly  of  her  husband,  but  who  is  now  said 
to  have  been  in  fact  the  daughter  of  Byron  himself 
Lady  Hamilton  Dalrymple  ought  seemingly  to  be 
Lady  Dalrymple  Hamilton  :  she  was  a  daughter  of 


Viscount  Duncan,  and  wife  of  Sir  Hew  D.  Hamilton. 
Somers  is  mentioned  on  p.  1 50 :  this  is  probably  the 
correct  spelling,  not  (as  here)  Summers.  Matthew 
Gregory  Lewis  (whom  I  had  occasion  to  name  before) 
was  the  author  of  The  Monk,  which  he  wrote  at  the 
early  age  of  nineteen,  of  the  musical  drama  The  Castle 
Spectre^  and  of  other  works  whose  celebrity  has  not 
survived  into  the  present  day.  He  was  now  near  the 
end  of  his  brief  career,  for  he  died  in  18 18,  aged 

The  society  I  have  been  in  may  be  divided  into 
three  sets  :  the  canton  of  Genthoud,  Coppet,  and 
Geneva.  The  canton  is  an  assemblage  of  a  neigh- 
bourhood of  about  seven  or  eight  families,  meeting 
alternately  on  Sundays  at  each  other's  houses,  and 
every  Thursday  at  the  Countess  Breuss's.  The 
Countess  Breuss  lives  at  Genthoud  in  a  villa  she 
has  bought.  She  has  two  husbands,  one  in  Russia, 
one  at  Venice  ;  she  acted  plays  at  the  Hermitage 
under  Catherine.  Not  being  able  to  get  a  divorce, 
she  left  Russia,  went  to  Venice  for  six  days,  stayed 
as  many  years,  married  (it  is  said),  bought  villas  etc. 
in  the  Venetian's  name,  and  separated.  Her  family 
consists   of   Madame   Gatelier,   a    humble   friend,   a 

great  lover  of  medicaments  etc..    Abate   ,   her 

Almoner,  an  excellent  Brescian,  great  lover  of  re- 
ligionists.  A  mania  in  the  family  for  building  summer- 


houses,  porticoes,  and  baths  ;  neatly  planned  ;  an  island 
with  a  ditch  round  it ;  a  Tower  of  Babel  round  the 
trunk  of  a  chestnut ;  a  summer-house  by  the  roadside 
of  a  Moorish  construction.  The  Countess  is  very 
good-natured,  laughs  where  others  calumniate  and 
talk  scandal  with  prudish  airs,  kind  to  all.  The 
society  is  extremely  pleasant ;  generally  dancing  or 
music.  It  was  the  birthday  of  Charles  Saladin,  who, 
having  been  four  years  in  Nap[oleon]'s  army,  knew 
nothing  of  the  matter.  She  asked  to  have  the  feting 
of  him.  They  acted  first  a  charade  on  the  canton  of 
Genthoud.  She  acted  with  Mr.  Massey  junior,  with 
others,  and  myself  as  a  woman — the  words  to  blind.^ 
Then  came  a  kind  of  farce,  in  which  Charles  was 
dressed  as  the  C.  B.  [Countess  Breuss  ?],  Gatelier  as 
the  Abb4  and  Miss  Saladin  as  Gatelier  :  each  took 
one  another  off.  Written  by  C.  B.  When  at  last 
another  of  the  society  brought  a  letter  announcing  it 
to  be  Charles'  birthday.  Then  they,  while  he  was  in 
his  amazement,  sang  a  song  to  him,  presented  him 
with  a  bouquet  and  purse.  Then  an  elegant  supper, 
and  afterwards  a  ball  on  the  arrival  of  Madame 
Toffettheim  with  her  son.  A  great  party  was  invited ; 
and   after  tea  two  plays  were  acted — Le  Pacha  de 

^  "  Blind  "  appears  to  be  the  word  written.  It  seems  an  odd 
expression — meaning,  I  suppose,  "to  blind  (mislead  or  puzzle) 
the  auditors." 


Suresne  and  Les  Ricochets.  There  was  an  immense 
number  of  spectators.  The  actors  were,  in  Le  Pacha 
de  Suresne,  Madame  Dorsan,  la  Comtesse  Breuss; 
Laure,  Madlle.  Brelaz ;  Agla^,  Clemann ;  Nathalie, 
M.;  Madlle.  Remy,  Madame  Gatelier ;  Perceval,  Alexis 
Saladin  ;  Flicflac,  Polidori ;  Joseph,  C.  Saladin. — 
Les  Ricochets — I  do  not  remember  the  characters. 
The  actors  were  Alexis,  Charles,  Auguste  Saladin, 
Massey  le  jeune,  La  Comtesse  Breuss,  Madame 
Mathilde  Saladin.  The  rehearsals  before  were 

I  got  a  discretion  from  the  Countess,  which  I  took 
in  the  shape  of  a  Swiss,^  in  consequence  of  a  wager 
that  I  could  not  go  straight  home. 

La  Toffettheim  is  a  nice,  unpretending,  lady-like 
woman,  pleasing  and  affectionate.  Her  son  full  of 
liberty-ideas.  It  was  here,  in  consequence  of  Massey 
junior  dancing  extremely  well,  that,  being  defied,  I 
danced  a  pantaloon-dance,  by  which  I  made  enemies  ; 
for,  upon  my  refusing  it  at  the  Saladins*,  they  thought 
it  was  a  personal  refusal.  Saladins  of  Vaugeron, 
father  and  mother.  Father  deaf,  good-natured  :  said 
to  me  upon  reading  my  thesis,  "  Mais,  Monsieur,  il 
n'y  a  pas  de  paradoxe."  The  mother  pretended  to 
play  shy  on  account  of  Madame  B. 

^  This,  again,  is  not  clear  to  me  :  something  in  the  nature  of 
a  game  of  forfeits  may  be  indicated. 


[By  Madame  B.  it  would  appear,  from  a  statement 
farther  on,  that  Polidori  means  Madame  Brelaz.] 

The  daughter — because,  the  first  night  I  saw  her, 
knowing  her  by  particular  introduction,  I  stuck  to 
her — thought  me  in  love,  and  said  so, — fool !  Madame 
Mathilde  [Saladin]  pretended  prude  in  mine  and 
Madame  B.'s  case,  while  she  herself  has  got  Mr. 
Massey  junior  dangling,  not  unheard,  after  her. 
Charles  a  good  boisterous  soldier,  at  Leipzig,  Nassau, 
and  13  ingwen  [?]  ^  Waterloo  business.  Makes  up  for 
wit  by  noise,  for  affection  by  slaps  on  the  back.  On 
his  birthday  I  addressed  him  with  (after  supper) — 

"Jeune  guerrier  dans  I'armde  du  premier  des  heros, 
Dans  la  cause  de  la  France  dedaignant  le  repos, 
Que  la  chute  de  vos  ans  soit  tranquille  et  heureuse, 
Comme  fut  I'aube  de  vos  jours  dclatante  et  glorieuse." 

[This  little  specimen  suffices  to  show  that  Polidori 
had  no  true  idea  of  French  versification  :  he  was 
evidently  unaware  that  a  final  e  mute  coming  before 
a  consonant  counts  as  a  syllable.] 

Auguste,  a  simple  neat  fool,  despising  learning 
because  he  is  noble  and  has  enough  to  live  upon  ; 
content  to  dangle,  with  a  compliment  and  a  sentiment, 
after  a  woman's  tail.  Alexis,  so  so,  good-naturedly 
ignorant  husband  to  Mathilde.     Massey  senior,  active 

*  So  written  :  should  it  be  "  B ingwen  "  or  something  of  the 
kind  ? 


pleasant  man,  excellent  fencer  and  dancer — been 
secretary  to  Bertrand.  Massey  junior,  confident, 
impudent,  insolent,  ignorant  puppy.  Saladins  of 
Maligny,  neither  good  nor  bad,  rich :  to  gain  a  little 
more,  let  their  villa  to  Lord  Breadalbane,  and  retired 
to  a  cottage,  though  both  old  and  only  one  ugly  vain 
daughter.  Lord  Breadalbane,  an  excellent,  good- 
sensed  though  not  quick  man  :  answered — when  the 
Duke  of  Bedford  said  to  him,  "  What  would  you  give 
to  have  the  Breadalbane  estate  in  Bedfordshire  ?  " — 
"Why,  your  Grace,  I  should  be  sorry  if  my  estate 
would  go  in  Bedfordshire."  Gave  a  very  good  ball 
at  which  I  was.  His  son  Lord  Glenorchy,  good,  shy, 
not  brilliant  young  man.  His  lady  not  spoken  to. 
His  daughter  excellent  dancer,  rather  haughty.  Mr. 
Evans,  a  good  sensible  man,  biassed  in  his  thoughts 
by  his  cassock.  At  the  society  he  took  up  the  im- 
mortality: Lord  Glenorchy  gave  a  positive  No. 
Saussure,  Mrs.,  a  wax  talkative  figure.  Mr.,  a 
would-be  scientific  gentleman :  thought  mc  a  fool 
because  I  danced  pantaloon,  and  himself  a  wise  man 
because  he  knows  the  names  of  his  father's  stones. 
Jacquct,  Madlle.,  got  half  in  love  with  her, — no,  her 
8000  a  year :  her  face  and  bad-singing  exposures 
cured  me.  Foncet,  officer  of  the  Piedmontese  troops, 
jealous  of  him. 

Brelaz,  Portuguese  lady, — in  love  with  her  ;  I  think 


fond  of  me  too  ;  imprudent ;  her  daughter  also  against 
me  on  account  of  it ;  shows  it  too  much  publicly  ; 
very  jealous  ;  her  daughters,  sprightly  good-looking 
girls.  Clemann — got  half  in  love  with  her ;  nice 
daughter.  The  Cavalier  pleasing.  Had  a  dispute  in 
a  public  ball  with  her  two  fools.  One  of  the  Saladins, 
Auguste,  courts  her,  and  she  laughs  ;  she  excites  love 
in  every  young  man's  breast.  Miss  Harriet  is  rather 
too  serious  for  her  age,  pretty  and  well-informed  in 
novels  and  romances,  and  rather  too  sentimental. 
Cavalier's  Marianne  is  a  fine  hoydenish  creature : 
applies  when  studying,  and  romps  when  playing. 

Madame  de  Stael  I  have  dined  with  three  times  ; 
she  is  better,  those  who  know  her  say,  at  home  than 
abroad.  She  has  married  poor  Rocca.  She  talks 
much ;  would  not  believe  me  to  be  a  physician ;  pre- 
sented her  my  thesis,  which  she  told  me  she  had  read 
with  pleasure.  Talked  about  religion,  and  puts  down 
every  [?]  of  Rocca.  Ugly ;  good  eyes.  Writing  on 
the  French  Revolution  ;  polite,  affable  ;  lectures,  and 
tells  all  to  L[ord]  B[yron].  Madame  de  Broglie,  her 
daughter,  a  beautiful,  dirty-skinned  woman  ;  pleasant, 
soft-eyed  speaker ;  dances  well,  waltzes.  Schlegel,  a 
presumptuous  literato,  contradicting  d,  outrance ;  a 
believer  in  magnetism.  Rocca,  a  talkative,  good- 
natured,  beautiful  man,  with  a  desire  for  knowledge  ; 
the  author  of  Walcheren  and  Espapie ;  excellent  at 

COPPET  147 

natve  description.  Rocca,  the  judge,  very  clever  and 
quick,  rising ;  know  little  of  him.  Been  seven  years 
in  the  courtship  of  Miss  Saladin  ;  she  neither  refuses 
nor  accepts  him,  but  keeps  him  in  her  train.  Miss 
Randall,  sister  to  Mrs.  Norgate.  Monsignor  Brema, 
friend  of  Ugo  Foscolo,  enthusiastic  for  Italy,  encomiast 
in  all,  Grand  Almoner  of  Italy,  hater  of  Austrians. 
Dumont,  a  thick,  heavy-thoughted  body,  editor  of 
Bentham.     Bonstetten,  friend  of  Gray. 

The  first  time  L[ord]  B[yron]  went,  there  was  Mrs. 
Hervey  there  ;  talkative,  sister  and  a  great  friend  of 
the  Noels  ;  she  thought  proper  to  faint  out  of  the 
house,  though  her  curiosity  brought  her  back  to  speak 
with  him. 

Bonstetten  told  me  that,  upon  his  saying  to  Gray 
that  he  must  be  happy,  he  took  and  read  to  him  the 
criticism  of  Johnson,  which  happens  to  have  been 
written  after  Gray's  death  ;  he  used  to  go  in  the 
evening  to  tea,  and  remain  all  night  reading  the 
English  authors  with  him.  Gray  introduced  him  to 
society  ;^  and,  one  of  the  professors  having  asked  him 
if  he  understood  what  he  said,  he  replied  he  thought 

^  The  word  "  society  "  is  perfectly  clear  in  Charlotte  Polidori's 
transcript.  From  the  context,  I  question  whether  it  ought  not 
to  be  "Shakespear."  As  to  "the  criticism  of  Johnson"  on  Gray 
in  the  Lives  of  the  Poets,  many  of  my  readers  will  recollect  that 
this  criticism  is  somewhat  adverse,  Gray  being  treated  as  a  rather 
nebulous  writer. 


so,  but  very  diff[idently  ?  ] — "  So  you  think  so  only  !  " 
Gray,  hearing  this,  showed  B[onstetten]  some  pas- 
sages to  ask  him,  which  B[onstetten]  did  in  a  public 
company,  complimenting  him  upon  [his?]  known 
knowledge ;  when  all  the  company,  one  after  the 
other,  began  contradicting  the  Professor's  opinion. 
Then  B[onstetten],  turning  to  him,  said, "  You  perhaps 
thought  you  understood  Shakespear."  Gray  told 
him  that  there  was  none  who  could  perfectly  under- 
stand him. 

Rossi,  an  Italian  of  about  thirty,  pleasant,  agree- 
able, and  good-natured,  professor  at  Bologna,  thence 
obliged  to  fly  with  two  others.  One  of  his  companions 
was  beginning  his  lecture,  when  the  students  called 
out,  "  No  lecture,  but  an  improvise  upon  the  liberty 
of  Italy  "  ;  as  he  v/as  an  improvisators  He  objected, 
as,  on  account  of  Murat's  approach,  it  might  be  sus- 
picious. They  insisted,  and  the  professors  at  hand 
said,  "No  harm  if  not  upon  present  circumstances." 
He  did  it,  and  the  students  issued  forth  to  join  Murat ; 
they  had  however  made  up  their  minds  to  do  so 
before.  Rossi  joined  it  more  openly  and  loudly,  and 
was  obliged  to  fly.  He  wrote  a  memoir  to  defend 
himself,  in  which  he  said  it  was  only  to  avoid  the 
Roman  dominion,  and  give  it  to  the  Archduke ;  who 
told  him  that  he  had  better  write  another,  as  Bologna 
was  already  ceded  to  Pius.     When  he  was  ruined  thus 


partially  he  wrote  to  the  father  of  his  betrothed,  to 
say  that  he  must  not  (if  he  chose)  think  himself  bound 
by  his  promise,  as  he  was  not  in  the  same  circum- 
stances as  when  the  promise  was  given.  The  father 
did  retract.  So  far  a  man  of  honour.  Now  how  to 
reconcile  his  being  with  Calandion,  a  magistrate  of 
G[eneva]  violent  on  the  other  side  ?  who  says  he  has 
made  a  good  profession  to  him,  and  at  the  same  time 
professing  other  opinions  to  others. 

Gave  me  a  letter  to  Milan,  and  by  him  I  have  been 
introduced  to  Saporiti,  a  good,  enthusiastic,  ignorant 
Italian.  Talked  of  the  English  landing  100,000 
soldiers  here  and  there,  as  if  they  were  so  many 

Slaneys :  the  husband  jealous  of  every  one — Cam- 
bridge degree.  When  I  danced  with  his  wife,  he 
after,  when  walking  with  her,  came  up  and  gave  an 
arm  too.  The  wife  beautiful,  but  very  simple. 
Galston,   Miss,  very  beautiful. 

"  Genevan  Liberal  Society  "  is  a  muster  of  English- 
men for  debate  on  speculative  questions.  Twice 
there.  Immortality,  accomplice's  evidence.  The 
members  whom  I  knew  were — Lord  Kinnoul,  a  most 
tiresome,  long-winded,  repeating,  thick-headed  would- 
be  orator,  Lord  Conyngham. 

[The  MS.  gives  "  Cunningham,"  which  must  be  a 
mistake.     The  Lord  Conyngham  of  this  period  began 


the  year  1816  as  an  Earl,  and  ended  it  as  a  Marquis. 
He  was  born  in  1766,  and  lived  on  to  1832,  and  was 
husband  of  a  lady,  Elizabeth  Denison,  whose  name 
figures  much  in  the  gossip,  not  excluding  the  scandal, 
of  those  years.] 

Mr.  Somers,  good  head  enough.  Valence,  whom  I 
cried  to  hear  ;  and,  meeting  me  after  at  Chamounix, 
the  first  thing  he  asked  me  was,  "  Why  did  you  laugh 
at  me  ?  "     St.  Aubyn,  Lloyd,  Slaney. 

Lloyd,  of  good  Welsh  blood,  his  original  name 
Ap  Griffith,  rode  out.  We  went  out  visiting  one 
day,  and,  in  returning  in  his  gig,  he  touched  a  horse 
of  a  row  of  carts.  The  carter  struck  me  upon  my 
back  with  his  whip  ;  I  jumped  down,  and  six  jumped 
at  me.  I  fortunately  was  between  a  wheel  and  a 
hedge,  so  that  they  all  could  not  reach.  Lloyd, 
seeing  this,  jumped  down  also ;  then  three  left  me 
and  went  to  him,  and  another  untied  a  piece  of  his 
wagon  with  which,  while  I  defended  myself  from 
the  two  (one  with  a  whip),  he  struck  me  while 
fortunately  my  arm  was  striking  a  blow,  so  that  it 
did  but  just  touch  my  face.  He  lifted  again;  I 
sprang  back,  and  with  all  the  force  of  my  leap  struck 
him  with  my  fist  in  his  face.  His  blow  fell  to  the 
ground,  and  with  his  hand  to  his  nose  he  retreated. 
They  then  seized  stones  to  throw,  but  we  closed  with 
them  ;   they  could   not  throw  above  two,  when  we 


saw  an  English  carriage  we  knew  coming.  We 
called,  they  came,  and  immediately  the  boisterous 
[fellows?]  were  calm.  Some  who  tried  to  divide  us 
got  blows  also. 

St.  Aubyn,  an  excellent  fellow,  introduced  me  to 
his  father  at  Genthoud :  is  a  natural  son,  studying 
for  the  Church.  His  father  is  a  good  polite  man, 
according  to  the  "go"  school.^  Keeps  a  mistress 
now,  though  sixty-five  years :  has  many  children  by 
different  mistresses. 

At  Dr.  Odier's — who  is  a  good  old,  toothless, 
chatty,  easy-believing  man  —  there  was  a  society 
every  Wednesday,  where  I  went  sometimes.  They 
danced,  sang,  ate  cakes,  and  drank  tea ;  English 
almost  entirely,  changing  every  Wednesday. — Went 
to  a  concert  of  Madam igella  Coda — the  theatre  dirty. 

When  Mr.  Hobhouse  and  Davies  arrived,  we  went 
to  Chamounix.  The  first  day  through  Chesne,  Anne- 
masse,  Vetra,  Nangy,  Contamine,  Bonneville  (dinner), 
Cluses,  Sallenches  (slept).  Next  day  by  Chede  in 
two  char-d-bancSy  with  each  a  guide ;  a  fine  pine-glen 
of  the  Arve,  to  Chamounix.  We  went  that  evening 
over  the  Brisson,  and  to  the  source  of  the  Aveyron. 
Next  day  so  bad  we  left,  and  returned  to  Sallenches, 
taking   the   fall   of  Chede   in   our   way ;    thence  to 

1  Seems  rather  an  odd  phrase,  but  I  suppose  correctly 


Diodati.  Mr.  Scrope  Davies  played  against  the 
marker  at  tennis:  then  went,  taking  Rushton  with 
him.     [Rushton  was  one  of  the  servants.] 

L[ord]  B[yron]  determined  upon  our  parting, — not 
upon  any  quarrel,  but  on  account  of  our  not  suiting. 
Gave  me  £70  \  50  for  3  months  and  20  for  voyage. 
Paid  away  a  great  deal,  and  then  thought  of  setting 
off:  determined  for  Italy.  Madame  de  Stael  gave 
me  three  letters.  Madame  B[relaz  ?]  wept,  and  most 
seemed  sorry. 

[I  suppose  that  most  likely  the  "  Madame  B."  here 
is  Madame  Brelaz,  with  whom,  as  stated  on  p.  145, 
Polidori  was  "  in  love."  Or  it  might  perhaps  be  the 
Comtesse  de  Breuss.] 

The  night  before  I  went,  at  Madame  B[reuss  i*]'s, 
they  acted  Cest  le  Mime  extremely  well ;  a  Lausanne 
girl  acting  the  lady  very  well.  The  costumes  also 
extremely  good.  Wished  nobody  good-bye :  told 
them,  though,  I  was  going.  Set  off  with  47  louis, 
112  naps. 

Le  Valais  from  Schlirer's  book.  Description  du 
Dipartement  du  Simplon,  18 12,  lent  me  by  the 
Cav[aliere].     See  elsewhere. 

September  16. — Left  Cologny  and  Lord  Byron  at 
six  in  the  morning.  Breakfasted  at  Doraine,  3 
leagues.  Dined,  Thouson,  ditto.  Evrein,  2.  Slept 
St.  Gingoux,  4.     Passed    Meillerie.     Saw  Lausanne 


at  a  distance,  right  through  this  part  of  Sardinian 
King's  dominions.  Read  Madame  Brelaz's  verses. 
Wept — not  at  them,  but  at  the  prose. 

September  17. — Left   St.  Gingoux  at   6.     Walked 

to }     Took  bread  and  wine.     Crossed  to  Chillon. 

Saw  Bonivard's  prison  for  six  years ;  whence  a 
Frenchman  had  broken,  and,  passing  through  a 
window,  swam  to  a  boat.  Instruments  of  torture, 
— the  pulley.  Three  soldiers  there  now  :  the  Roman 
arms  already  affixed.  Large  subterranean  passes. 
Saw  in  passing  the  three  treed  islands.  The  Rhone 
enters  by  two  mouths,  and  keeps  its  waters  distinct 
for  two  stones'  throw. 

From  Chillon  I  went  to  Montreaux — breakfasted 
— leaving  Charney  on  my  left.  I  began  to  mount 
towards  the  Dent  de  Jamanu.  Before  beginning  to 
mount  Jamanu  itself,  one  has  a  beautiful  view,  seeing 
only  part  of  the  lake,  bound  by  Meillerie,  Roches, 
and  the  Rhone.  Higher  up  the  view  is  more 
extensive,  but  not  so  beautiful — nothing  being  dis- 
tinct ;  the  water  looking  merely  as  an  inlet  of  sky, 
but  one  could  see  the  Jura  as  far  as  Genthoud. 

I  entered  a  chalet,  where  they  expressed  great 
astonishment  at  my  drinking  whey,  which  they  give 
to  their  pigs  only.     Refused  at  first  money. 

^  A  name  is  written  here,  but  so  obscurely  that  I  leave  it  out. 
It  somewhat  resembles  "  Neravois,"  or  "  the  ravois." 


Descended  towards  Mont  Boyon.  What  owing  to 
the  fatigue  and  hardly  meeting  any  one,  sick  with 
grief.  At  Mont  Boyon  dined,  and,  finding  they 
would  not  dance,  slept  immediately  after. 

September  i8. — Up  at  4.  Drank  wine  and  bread. 
At  6  set  off.  Passed  the  Chateau  d'Ox  where  there 
was  a  fair.  After  that,  hardly  met  a  soul.  Always 
on  the  side  of  the  mountains,  each  side  of  a  river 
or  torrent ;  with  torrent-beds,  pine-forests,  chalets, 
villages  without  a  visible  soul — all  at  work — and  ups 
and  downs :  so  that  this  road,  if  I  had  not  had  that 
of  yesterday,  I  should  have  called  the  worst  in  the 
world.  Passed  through  Chateau  d'Ox  ;  Rougemont, 
breakfast ;  Zwezermann,  dinner  ;  Gessenay  ;  Lam- 
beck  ;  Reichenstein ;  Weissenbach ;  Bottingen,  tea 
and  night.  The  French  language  leaves  off  at 
Gessenay  (rather,  patois),  and  they  begin  their 
German  :   found  it  difficult  to  go  on. 

September  19. — Got  up  at  4  J.  Set  off  from  Bottingen. 
Went  through  Obernoyle.  Breakfasted  at  Wyssen- 
bach :  refused  my  money.  Went  to  the  Doctor, 
who  charged  me  a  nap.  Went  through  Erlenbach, 
Lauterbach,  Meiningen,  to  Thun.  Splendid  scenery; 
especially  the  first  look  at  the  Lake  by  the  river's 
mouth,  and  the  pass  into  a  great  valley.  Took 
dinner,  and  then  a  warm  bath.  Arrived  at  i  o'clock. 
All   the   houses   are   of  wood,  the   foundation   only 



being  stone :  great  cut  ornaments  between  the  rows 
of  windows :  the  wood,  fir.  Felt  very  miserable, 
especially  these  two  last  days  :  only  met  two  persons 
to  whom  I  could  speak — the  others  all  Germans. 
At  Wyssenbach  they  all  said  grace  before  breakfast, 
and  then  ate  out  of  the  same  dish ;  remarking  (as 
I  understood  them)  that  I,  not  being  a  Catholic, 
would  laugh. 

[It  was  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  Dr.  Polidori  was 
"  not  a  Catholic."  He  was  brought  up  as  a  Catholic, 
and  never  changed  his  religion,  but  may  (I  suppose) 
have  been  something  of  a  sceptic] 

September  20. — Got  up  at  6.  Wrote  to  St.  Aubyn, 
Brelaz,  father,  Vacca,  and  Zio,  asking  letters ;  to  my 
father,  to  announce  my  parting. 

[Vacca  was  a  celebrated  surgeon  at  Pisa,  of  whom 
we  shall  hear  farther.  Zio  is  "  my  uncle  " — /.  e,  Luigi 
Polidori,  also  at  Pisa.] 

Bought  fresh  shoes  and  stockings  ;  found  no  book- 
seller's shop.  The  man  at  the  post-office  made  a 
good  reflection :  that  he  was  astonished  so  many 
came  to  see  what  they  who  were  so  near  never  want 
to  see,  and  that  he  supposed  that  the  English  also 
leave  much  unseen  in  their  own  country. 

Thun  is  a  neat  well-situated  town,  not  large,  with 
arcades — as  apparently  all  the  Berne  towns.  Afraid 
all  day  my  dog  was  poisoned  ;  which  grieved  me  so, 


at  seeing  it  vomit,  that  I  wept.  At  2  o'clock  went 
in  search  of  a  boat :  none  going  immediately,  I 
walked  along  the  left  bank  of  the  lake  to  Unterseen. 
The  views  the  most  beautiful  I  ever  saw ;  through 
pines  over  precipices,  torrents,  and  sleepers  [?]  ^  and 
the  best-cultivated  fields  I  ever  saw.  The  lake  some- 
times some  hundred  precipitous  feet  below  my  feet ;  at 
other  times  quite  close  to  its  edge  ;  boats  coming  from 
the  fair  ;  picturesque  towered  villages ;  fine  Alps  on 
the  other  side,  the  Jungfrau  and  others  far  off.  The 
bottom  of  the  lake  is  especially  magnificent.  Lost 
my  way,  and  had  two  little  children  as  guides  back 
again.    One  small  cascade  of  seven  or  eight  fountains. 

Arrived  at  7  at  Unterseen  :  through  Nilterfingen, 
Oberhofen,  Rottingen,  Morlangen,  Neuchaus,  to 
Unterseen.  Found  two  Englishmen  at  supper :  sat 
down  with  them.     Very  miserable  all  the  morning. 

September  21. — Got  up  at  6,  having  determined  to 
go  with  the  two  to  the  Grindenwald  in  a  char-a-banc, 
on  account  of  the  state  of  my  foot.  I  went  to  the 
bridge  at  Interlachen  to  see  the  view  coming 
between  two  beautiful  isolated  crags.  Going,  met 
a  man,  a  marechal,  who  had  been  to  Vienna  and 
Bohemia  en  roulant  after  his  apprenticeship,  to  see 
the  world — stopping  a  day  at  one  place,  a  day  at 
another.  Returned,  breakfasted:  and  then,  after 
1  Should  this  be  "glaciers"?. 


growling  at  the  innkeeper's  wishing  us  to  take  two 
horses,  we  went  off  through  splendid  pine-clad  craggy 
valleys  through  Zweihitschirne  to  Lauterbrunner ; 
whence  to  the  fall  of  the  Staubach,  a  bare  cataract 
of  900  feet  high,  becoming  vapour  before  it  arrives — 
appearing  much,  and  ending  in  a  little  stream.  The 
curate  of  this  village  receives  guests :  there  were  the 
Prince  Saxe-Gotha  and  family.  We  lunched  at  the 
inn,  and  went  back  to  Lauterbrunner  after  having 
looked  at  the  Jungfrau  at  a  distance. 

Went  from  Zweihitschirne  to  the  Grindenwald 
with  the  Saxe-Gotha  before  us,  through  a  more 
beautiful  valley.  Saw  the  glaciers  come  into  it, 
with  the  Eiger,  Wetterhorn,  and  other  mountains, 
most  magnificent.  Walking  about,  found  two  girls 
who  gave  us  cherries  and  chatted  freely.  Found 
that  mules  were  18  francs  a  day.  A  party  came 
in  in  the  dark  at  8  with  guides,  hallooing  and  making 
a  lively  sound.  Dined  at  7,  and  talked  about  mules, 
hoping  to  get  return  ones  etc. 

September  22. — Got  up.  Could  not  get  mules  under 
18  francs:  my  foot  too  bad  to  walk.  Went  with 
Captain  Rice  and  others  back  to  Interlachen.  Got 
into  a  boat  rowed  by  two  men  and  a  boy.  Went 
by  Brientz,  Calne,  to  the  Griesbach  cascade,  and 
then  to  Brientz — wilder,  but  not  so  beautiful  as  the 
Lake  of  Thun.     The  cascade  I  did  not  mount  to  see 


on  account  of  my  foot.  At  Brientz  an  old  woman 
would  give  us  her  presence  and  conversation  till  one 
of  my  companions  courted  the  daughter.  Met  be- 
tween Grindenwald  and  Interlachen  L[ord]  B[yron] 
and  Mr.  H[obhouse] :   we  saluted. 

September  23. — Got  up  at  4.  Tired  of  my  company ; 
and,  finding  the  expense  more  than  I  could  afford,  I 
went  to  their  bedrooms  to  wish  them  good-bye.  Set 
off  at  5  J ;  and  through  fine  copse- wooded  crags, 
along  the  Aar,  with  cascades  on  every  side,  to 
Meyringen ;  where  I  breakfasted  with  two  Germans, 
an  old  and  a  young  artist — the  old,  chatty.  Bought 
a  pole.  Went  to  see  the  Reichenbach,  a  fine  cascade 
indeed.  Thence  through  the  beautiful  vale  of  Nach- 
im  -  Grunden,  where  for  a  moment  I  planned  a 
sovereignty ;  but,  walking  on,  my  plans  faded  before 
I  arrived  at  Guttannen,  where  I  dined. 

Rode  all  the  way  to-day — horrible,  only  passable 
for  men  and  mules :  it  is  the  way  to  St.  Gothard. 
The  road  is  merely  huge  unequal  masses  of  granite 
thrown  in  a  line  not  the  straightest.  From  Guttannen 
the  road  went  through  the  wildest  and  most  sublime 
scenery  I  ever  read  of:  vegetation  less  and  less,  so 
that,  instead  of  grass,  there  was  moss  ;  then  nothing. 
Instead  of  trees,  shrubs  ;  then  nothing — huge  granite 
rocks  leaving  hardly  room  for  the  road  and  river. 
The  river's  bed  the  most  magnificent  imaginable,  cut 


deep  and  narrow  into  the  solid  rock,  sinuous,  and 
continually  accompanied  by  cascades,  and  amazing 
bold  and  high  single-arched  bridges.  Snow  covering 
in  some  parts  the  whole  bed  of  the  river,  and  so  thick 
and  strong  that  even  huge  stones  have  fallen  without 
injuring  its  crust.  There  are  only  two  houses  between 
Guttannen  and  the  Hospital :  one,  a  chalet  wherein 
I  entered ;  the  other,  a  cow-herd's.  Arrived  at  6 
o'clock  precisely,  having  walked  in  only  9J  hours  30 
miles  at  least. 

[This  is  a  little  indistinct  in  connexion  with  what 
precedes.  I  suppose  that  the  phrase  "rode  all  the 
way  to-day"  must  be  understood  as  meaning  "all 
the  way  up  to  Guttannen " ;  and  that,  after  leaving 
Guttannen,  there  were  30  miles  of  walking  before  the 
Hospital  was  reached.  Yet  this  seems  an  unreason- 
ably heavy  day's  work  in  travelling.  After  "only 
9^"  the  initial  written  is  "m":  but  I  presume  it 
ought  to  be  "h"  (hours).] 

The  Hospital  is  an  old  stone  ugly  building,  con- 
sonant with  the  wild  scene,  where  the  poor  are  lodged 
for  nothing ;  others,  us,  [as  ?]  an  inn. 

September  24. — On  account  of  rain  did  not  get  up 
till  7.  Set  off  across  the  Grimsel,  a  dreary  mountain 
with  snow  in  every  hollow — 5000  feet  above  the 
Four-canton  Lake.  Descended  on  the  other  side  to 
Obergustellen,  where  I  breakfasted   at   10.     Thence 


through  Verlican,  Guesquerman,  Munster,  Rexingen, 
Biel,  Blizzen  ;  where,  out  of  the  dead  flat  valley,  I 
began  to  mount,  and  the  scenery  began  to  increase 
in  beauty.  One  bridge  especially  over  the  Rhone, 
which  fell  between  two  clefts'  sides,  was  beautiful. 
Sinderwald,  Viesch,  pine-wood ;  sax  (?)  along  the 
rocks,  and  fine  path  along  the  mountain.  Very  fine, 
though  continued  hard  rain,  which  drenched  me  and 
hindered  my  seeing  a  great  deal.  To  Morel,  where  I 
went  to  bed,  and  ate  a  kind  of  dinner  in  bed  at  7  o'clock. 

September  25. — Up  at  5  ;  my  foot,  from  having 
been  obliged  to  walk  with  the  shoe  down  at  heel, 
very  much  swelled  and  too  painful  to  walk.  Break- 
fast. Two  students  from  Brieg,  of  the  Jesuits' 
College,  came  in,  who  had  during  the  vacations  been 
beyond  Constance  with  only  two  ecus  neufs  in  their 
pockets.  It  costs  them  ten  batsches  a  year  at 
College.  Impudent  one :  the  other  modest-looking, 
but,  when  I  gave  him  six  francs  because  he  had  no 
more  money,  he  asked  me  for  more  on  other  accounts. 
The  Jesuits  been  restored  two  years. 

At  Brieg  ^  I  sent  for  the  curate,  a  good  old  man 
of  sixty.  We  conversed  together  in  Latin  for  two 
hours ;  not  at  all  troublesome  in  enquiries,  but  kind 
in   answering    them.     The   Valaisians    resisted   two 

^  This  name  is  illegibly  written  :  I  can  only  suppose  that  it 
must  be  meant  for  Brieg. 

BRIEG  i6i 

years  against  the  French  in  93.  It  was  the  only- 
part  of  the  country  in  which  they  did  so,  except 
Unterwalden,  and  then  it  was  only  the  peasants,  and 
in  every  village  there  was  a  French  party.  The 
cruelty  of  the  French  was  dreadful ;  they  stuck  their 
prisoners  in  a  variety  of  ways  like  sheep.  One  old 
man  of  eighty,  who  had  never  left  his  house  but 
whom  they  found  eating,  they  strangled,  and  then 
put  meat  and  bottles  by  him  as  if  he  had  died 
apoplectic.  They  fought  very  hard  and  bravely,  but 
such  was  the  power  of  numbers  united  to  the  force 
of  treachery  that  they  were  obliged  to  yield.  In 
18 1 3,  after  the  French  had  quitted  Brieg,  they  again 
attempted  to  penetrate  from  Italy  by  the  Simplon  ; 
when  the  Brieg,  Kelor  [?],  and  other  villagers,  joined 
by  only  one  company  of  Austrians,  surrounded  them 
in  the  night,  and  took  them  prisoners.  In  Schwytz  [?] 
and  Unterwalden  the  division  was  more  strongly 
marked.  In  Unterwalden  (where  was  the  scene)  the 
men  [?]  divided  and  fought  against  each  other,  some 
joining  the  French  from  Stanz[?]  to  Engelberg. 
They  were  for  freedom,  and  fought  as  the  cause 
deserved.  They  killed  5000  French,  more  than  double 
their  own  number ;  women  fought ;  they  were  in 
all  2100  Swiss.  One  maid  in  the  ranks,  when  her 
comrades  were  obliged  to  retreat,  seeing  a  cannon 
yet  unfired,  went  with  a  rope-end  and  fired  it,  killing 


thirty  [?]  French.  She  was  taken ;  a  pardon  was 
offered.  She  said,  "  I  do  not  acknowledge  any 
pardon;  my  action  is  not  pardonable;  a  thief  [one?] 
pardons,  not  a  just  man."  They  killed  her  with 
swords.  The  hundred  men  who  came  from  the 
higher  part  of  Schwytz,  attempting  to  go  to  their 
relief,  were  through  their  own  countrymen  forced  to 
cut  their  way  and  march  by  night ;  and,  when  in 
retreating  they  came  to  the  other  shore  of  Lucerne 
Lake,  they  had  again  to  cut  through  their  own 
countrymen  to  arrive  at  their  homes,  they  refusing 
them  permission  to  pass.  The  Austrians,  for  the  help 
the  higher  Valaisians  gave  them,  from  sovereigns 
have  made  them  subjects  to  the  lower  Valaisians. 
The  curate  came  in  again,  with  a  description  of  the 
Simplon  ;  sat  an  hour  and  a  half,  then  left  the  book. 
When  [he  was]  not  here  I  have  written  the  part  of 
my  Journal  I  missed  at  the  time,  and  the  extract 
from  his  book.  He  came  in  again  about  6  with  a 
basket  of  prunes  for  me,  and  offered  to  go  with  me 
half-way,  as  he  had  to  go  to  a  church  on  the  way. 

September  26. — Got  up  at  5.  The  curate  came, 
and,  my  foot  being  better,  I  set  off.  He  showed  me 
the  bridge  over  the  Massa  where  was  a  battle,  and 
the  ruins  of  a  tyrant's  tower.  We  came  to  his  church, 
where  he  showed  me  the  miraculous  figure  that  was 
found  in  the  Rhone.    He  told  me  the  lower  Valaisians 


were  ready  to  join  the  French  in  '13,  and  that,  in 
spite  of  this,  they  [the  Austrians  ?]  had  given  them  a 
majority  of  voices.  Left  me  in  sight  of  Brieg,  telling 
me  he  hoped  to  see  me  again  in  heaven.  I  walked 
on  to  Brieg ;  breakfasted,  and  then  set  off  along  the 
Simplon,  a  magnificent  road  indeed.  It  is  cut  in 
many  places  through  the  rocks,  in  others  built  up 
to  its  side.  It  has  caverns  and  bridges  always  wide 
enough  for  four  carriages ;  it  ascends  all  the  way  to 
the  new  Hospice,  and  again  descends  from  it.  At  its 
side  are  houses  of  refuge  (as  they  are  called)  where 
many  are  kept  by  government,  with  privilege  of 
selling  food  to  help  the  passers-by.  There  is  in  each 
a  room  with  a  bed  where  one  can  go  in  case  of  rain, 
accident,  etc. ;  and,  when  the  time  for  avalanches  etc., 
these  men  are  obliged  to  accompany  the  travellers 
from  house  to  house.  Just  where  the  rising  ends  the 
new  Hospital  was  to  have  been  erected,  and  is  half 
done,  but  stopped  now.  A  little  farther  on  is  the  old 
one ;  whither  I  went,  and  got  a  dinner  in  the  cell  of 
one  of  the  monks  ;  bread,  wine,  cold  meat,  and  nuts. 
He  seemed  very  ennuye;  his  words  slowly  fell ;  said 
they  were  St.  Augustines,  not  St.  Bernardites.  That 
St.  Bernard  was  a  mere  reformer  of  the  order.  They 
have  been  here  since  18 10  only,  in  an  old  castle  for 
which  they  pay  ;^20  a  year.  The  Simplon  was  a 
department  of  France,  and  rather  well  off  on  account 


of  the  quantity  of  work  and  money,  and  not  having  the 
droits  revenues.  The  Archduke  Regnier  was  there  a 
few  days  ago  incog.,  and  they  did  not  recognize  him 
— which  mortified  them  very  much.  It  is  six  leagues 
hither  from  Brieg,  so  that  I  had  walked  twenty-six 

I  set  off  at  2  :  passed  through  Sempeln  [?],  and 
through  the  most  magnificent  scenery,  through  the 
granite  galleries.  The  Italian  part  is  by  far  the 
most  difficult  and  splendid.  The  first  boy  that  I 
met  before  coming  to  Isella,  in  answer  to  a  question 
in  German,  answered  "  Non  capisco  "  ;  M  could  have 
hugged.  I  arrived  after  much  difficulty  at  Isella, 
knocked  up.  I  was  ruined  in  my  feet,  and  it  was  not 
till  near  here  that  the  carriages  which  parted  in  the 
morning  from  Brieg  overtook  me.  Went  to  bed 
immediately  in  a  room  where  the  grease  might  be 
scraped  from  the  floor. 

September  27. — Did  not  get  up  till  i  on  account 
of  fatigue.  Breakfasted  most  miserably,  everything 
being  bad ;  and  then  set  off,  but  immensely  slowly 
till  a  cart  overtook  me.  Entered  ;  lay  upon  the  logs 
of  wood  and  hay,  and  was  driven  to  Domo  d'Ossola. 
Is  it  imagination  only  that  I  find  the  sky  finer, 
the  country  where  cultivated  extremely  rich,  green- 
looking  ?  The  dress  of  the  women  picturesque,  blue 
^  "  I  don't  understand." 


with  red  stripes  here  and  there ;  the  men  more  acute 
and  quicker-eyed.  Arrived  at  Domo  d'Ossola  at  3  ; 
got  into  a  clean  though  poor  inn,  and  dined  well. 
A  gendarme  came  in  to  ask  how  it  was  that  my 
passport  had  not  been  vised  yet ;  and  then,  seeing  I 
was  a  physician,  requested  a  cure  for  his  toothache. 
It  is  useless  to  describe  the  picturesque :  the  best 
page  to  turn  to  for  it  is  the  memory.  After  one  of 
the  most  comfortable  fireside-evenings  I  have  had 
since  I  left  Geneva  I  went  to  bed  at  7J. 

September  28. — Set  off  at  6  o'clock  through  vine- 
country,  with  little  hills  here  and  there  starting  out 
of  the  low  Alps,  highly  cultivated,  with  beautiful 
little  white  villas  at  their  tops  and  sides.  Asked  a 
woman  what  was  a  house  whereon  was  painted 
a  Democritus,  Diogenes,  etc.  Answered,  "E  roba 
antica "  ^ — though  evidently  modern,  but  deserted. 
Indeed,  the  whole  of  the  houses  seem  too  large  for 
the  inhabitants — much  falling  to  ruin.  From  Domo 
d'Ossola  went  to  Vella  ;  to  Vagagna,  where  I  break- 
fasted and  saw  the  first  good-looking  Italian  girl. 
The  children  are  pretty,  the  women  quite  otherwise. 
There  began  to  suffer  from  my  feet  so  much  as  that 
to  go  about  six  more  miles  took  me  five  hours.  No 
car  passed  me,  or  anything. 

I  arrived  at  last  at  Ornavasco.  Could  get  no  car, 
^  "  It's  an  old  aflfair." 


though  they  kept  me  half-an-hour  in  the  yard 
standing,  in  hopes  of  getting  one.  At  last  agreed 
with  a  man  that  he  should  set  off  at  4  o'clock 
to-morrow  to  Fariolo  for  4  francs.  Looked  at  a 
bedroom :  shrugged  up  my  shoulders,  but  forced. 
Dinner  :  no  meat,  because  "  meagre."  Ate  the  fruit. 
The  Italian  grapes,  nectarines,  peaches,  and  pears,  I 
got  yesterday,  excellent.  Two  bunches  of  grapes 
half-a-franc :  two  at  dinner. 

Sunday^  September  29. — Up  at  5.  Got  into  the 
char,  or  rather  cart.  Passed  through  Gravellino  to 
Fariolo.  Asked  10  francs  to  take  me  to  Laveno : 
offered  4 — accepted.  Got  into  the  boat.  Rowed 
towards  Isola  Madre ;  passed  Isola  Pescatori ;  and 
landed  on  Isola  Bella. 

Went  over  the  palace.  Many  of  the  floors  miserable 
on  account  of  their  being  the  mere  rock.  Some  good 
pictures.  A  whole  set  of  rooms  below  in  the  style 
of  grottoes,  with  windows  looking  on  to  beautiful 
views,  close  to  the  lake  for  //  fresco.  Looked  at  the 
terrace :  not  pleasing  the  style :  and,  thinking  I 
should  see  it  all  in  going  round,  did  not  go  over 
the  gardens.  Went  round  the  island  in  the  boat ; 
magnificently  paved,  like  terrace  on  terrace. 

Thence  towards  Laveno,  intending  to  go  to  Lugano 
and  Como ;  but,  hearing  that  I  could  go  all  the  way 
by  water  to  Milan,  I  preferred  this,  and  accordingly 

MILAN  167 

turned  round  towards  Belgirato.  Breakfasted  on 
caffe  al  latte,  uve,  and  fichi}  4J  francs.  Boatman 
proposed  my  joining  a  party  to  Sestri-Calende,  which 
I  did.  Arona,  with  the  colossus,  on  my  left,  Anghera 
on  my  right ;  Monte  Rosa ;  all  the  bottom  part  of 
the  lake  richly  magnificent. 

[The  colossus  is  the  celebrated  gigantic  statue  of 
San  Carlo  Borromeo.] 

Arrived  at  an  inn — taken  for  a  servant.  After 
some  time  things  got  round,  when  in  came  two 
soldiers  with  swords  by  their  sides,  to  desire  me  to 
step  to  the  police-inspector.  I  did,  and  found  he 
could  not  read  the  writing  in  my  passport.  The 
boatman  came  soon  after,  offering  me  a  plan  for 
to-morrow  for  five  francs,  and  showing  me  twelve 
naps,  they  got  for  the  boat — which  cost  only  seventy 
francs.     Agreed. 

September  30. — Up  at  5.  Off  at  6  in  a  large  barge, 
with  yesterday's  English  party  and  two  carriages,  by 
the  Tessino  and  canal  to  Milan  :  at  first  through  a 
fine  hilly  country,  and  rapidly  by  the  Tessino  flood. 
After,  slower,  and  through  a  flat  plain  with  trees  and 
neat  villas  and  hanging  grapes,  to  Milan.  Slept  out 
of  the  town  by  the  canal. 
October  i. — Up  at  7. 

[Polidori  blunderingly  calls  this  "  September  31  ": 
^  Coffee  with  milk,  grapes,  and  figs. 


he  also  calls  the  day  a  Monday,  but  October  i,  1816, 
was  a  Tuesday.  For  the  next  following  day  he 
rightly  writes  "October  2."] 

The  boatman  came  as  I  had  desired,  to  guide 
me.  Entered  Milan  by  a  fine  gate  with  a  kind  of 
triumphal  arch.  The  streets  are  clean  but  narrow — 
fine  houses.  There  are  two  strips  of  pavement  for 
wheels,  and  often  two  for  pedestrians.  Passed  by 
Santa  Maria — fine,  all  white  marble,  with  many  fine 
statues  on  the  outside.  Many  palaces.  A  bad  taste 
shown  in  plastering  the  columns  and  corner-stones 
of  a  lighter  colour  than  the  body. 

Got  a  letter  from  Brelaz ;  well  written  in  composition 
and  in  letters,  but  badly  spelled.  Got  my  trunk,  after 
some  difficulty,  passed.  The  diligence-keepers  asked 
if  they  could  direct  me  to  rooms  :  showed  two  where 
a  man  was  at  that  moment  going.  Got  them  for  40 
lire  il  mese  ;  a  bedroom  and  sitting-room,  second 
storey,  Contrado  San  Spirito.  Sent  to  the  custom- 
house. Made  the  men  wait — sent  them  away  for  two 
hours,  again  away  for  one.  More  stoppages,  and,  in 
centimes,  3  francs  to  pay.  They  would  not  at  first  let 
it  (the  trunk)  go  because  it  was  the  last  day  of  the 

[Did  they  share  Polidori's  blunder  that  the  day 
was  September  31  ?] 

Went  to  dine  at  a  restaurateur's:  ij-franc  dinner. 

MILAN  169 

Afterwards  put  my  things  into  a  little  order,  dressed, 
and  went  strolling  towards  Teatro  della  Scala. 
Entered,  two  hours  before  beginning,  alone.  Im- 
mense theatre :  six  rows  of  boxes,  with,  I  think, 
thirty-six  in  a  row.  La  Testa  di  Bronzo^  a  ballet, 
and  a  comic  ballet :  the  ballet  the  most  magnificent 
thing  I  ever  saw — splendid  indeed. 

October  2. — Got  up  at  8.  Breakfasted  on  grapes, 
bread  and  butter,  wine,  and  figs.  Wrote  to  Lord 
Byron.  Dressed.  Went  to  Marchese  Lapone — out 
of  town  ;  Monsignor  Brema — not  at  home.  Walked 
about  looking  at  booksellers'  shops.  Entered  the 
Duomo — invisible  almost,  so  black  and  dark.  They 
were  putting  up  drapery  for  Friday,  which  is  the 
Emperor's  birthday  (probably  the  same  as  for 
Napoleon).  Returned  home,  arranged  my  papers. 
Took  a  walk  on  the  Corso  ;  then  to  the  Teatro  Re. 
The  same  price  for  all  the  places.  The  piece  // 
Sogno  di  Ariosto  [Dream  of  Ariosto],  where  Fortune, 
Merit,  Orgoglio,  with  Mrs.  Disinganno,^  were  all 
personified.  The  dialogue  abounded  in  truths,  es- 
pecially regarding  women,  which  they  applauded. 
The  theatre  is  very  small,  hke  the  Haymarket. 
Home  to  bed. 

October  3. — Up  at  8.   Went  to  a  circulating  library : 
read    Denina,    Vicende,   all   the    part   on    Italy   and 
1  Orgoglio  is  pride  ;  disinganno  is  undeceiving,  disillusion. 


preface.  To  the  Teatro  Scelto  di  Milano.  Enquired 
about  Andricini  etc.  for  my  father — not  found. 

["  Andricini "  is  clearly  written  in  the  transcript 
before  me.  I  am  not  aware  that  there  is  any  such 
Italian  author  as  Andricini,  and  apprehend  that  the 
name  ought  to  be  Andreini.  This  author  wrote,  early 
in  the  seventeenth  century,  a  dramatic  poem  entitled 
AdamOy  which  was  indisputably  present  to  Milton's 
mind  when  he  was  writing  Paradise  Lost.  Dr.  Poli- 
dori's  father,  who  translated  Milton,  was  probably 
interested  in  this  work  of  Andreini.] 

Went  to  the  Teatro  Re ;  ^  a  play  of  English  people 
in  which  they  kiss  the  hand,  and  make  more  bows 
than  were  ever  made  in  a  century  in  England.  There 
were  German  soldiers  in  English  uniforms  present. 
Home,  to  bed. 

October  4. — Up  at  8 — breakfasted.  Went  to  call 
on  Monsignore  Breme — found  him.  Received  me 
with  two  kisses  and  great  apparent  joy.  About  to 
learn  English  :  I  promised  my  help.  Walked  with 
me,  and  invited  me  to  his  box. 

[Lord  Byron,  in  two  of  his  letters,  October   and 

November    18 16,    remarks  regarding   Milan:    "The 

society  is  very  oddly  carried  on — at  the  theatre,  and 

the  theatre  only,  which  answers  to  our  opera.    People 

1  There  is  a  word  following  "  R^,"  evidently  the  title  of  the 
play  which  was  acted.  It  looks  something  like  "  Amondre," 
but  cannot  be  read. 

MILAN  171 

meet  there  as  at  a  rout,  but  in  very  small  circles.  .  .  . 
They  have  private  boxes,  where  they  play  at  cards, 
or  talk,  or  anything  else  ;  but,  except  at  the  cassino, 
there  are  no  open  houses  or  balls  etc.  etc."] 

Left  him — came  home.  Read  Denina's  Ultime 
Vicende,  a  poor  book.  Went  to  Guyler.  Met  Cara- 
vella — walked  with  him.  Went  to  dine  :  where  I  met 
his  brother,  who  told  me  the  physician  at  Florence 
was  dead,  and  promised  to  come  and  take  me  to  the 
hospital.  Met  after  dinner  Abate  Berlezi  the  Crabule.^ 
Came  home.  Read  the  Calandra  of  Bibiena,  and 
Sofonisba  of  Trissino.  Took  an  ice,  and  went  to 
La  Scala.  Feast  of  St.  Francis,  the  Emperor's.  When 
the  Dukes  went  this  morning  to  mass  at  the  Duomo 
not  a  hat  moved,  not  a  voice  of  applause :  however, 
when  Regnier  entered,  there  was  a  slight  clapping 
of  hands.  The  theatre  was  lighted  up  like  an  English 
one,  and  was  magnificent,  but  showed  what  the  Italians 
allege — that  the  scene  does  not  improve  by  it,  but  the 

In  Brema's  loge  there  were  Monti,  Brema's  brother, 
and  others.  Monti  a  short  man,  round  face,  quick 
eye ;  pleasant  in  conversation,  not  haughty,  modest, 
unassuming ;  seemed  to  take  great  pleasure  in  parts 
of  the  music  and  in  the  dancing. 

[It  will  be  understood  that  this  is  the  celebrated 

1  The  word  is  more  like  Crabule  than  anything  else  :  I  don't 
understand  it, 


Vincenzo  Monti,  the  poet  who  was  at  one  time 
acclaimed  as  the  legitimate  successor  of  Dante  in 
virtue  of  his  poem  La  Basvigliana^  upon  a  personage 
of  the  French  Revolution.  In  1816  Monti  was  sixty- 
two  years  of  age  :  he  died  in  1828.  Though  sufficiently 
Italian  in  his  tone  of  mind  and  sentiment,  he  was  not 
a  consistent  Italian  patriot,  but  was  eminently  sus- 
ceptible of  inflation  by  a  series  of  conflicting  winds — 
anti-revolution,  revolution,  Napoleon  ism,  and  even 
Austrianism.  Not  indeed  that  he  was  sordidly  self- 
interested  in  his  various  gyrations.  As  Dr.  Richard 
Garnett  has  said  :  "  He  was  no  interpreter  of  his  age, 
but  a  faithful  mirror  of  its  successive  phases,  and 
endowed  with  the  rare  gift  of  sublimity  to  a  degree 
scarcely  equalled  by  any  contemporary  except  Goethe, 
Byron,  and  Shelley."] 

Brema  related  that  a  friend  of  his,  Porro,  asked  for 
a  passport  to  Rome :  refused,  and  asked  for  docu- 
ments to  prove  his  business.  Gave  what  proved  he 
had  business  at  Maurata  and  relatives  at  Rome. 
Refused.  Went  to  Swarrow,  who  told  him  he  could 
not  give  it.  Porro  said  :  "  Why  do  the  Austrians 
think  the  Italians  are  always  making  conspiracies?" 
Swarrow  said  that  they  did  not  know,  but,  now  that 
they  had  the  upper  hand,  they  cared  not ;  and  at  last 
that,  if  Porro  would  give  his  word  of  honour  not  to 
visit  any  of  the  foreign  embassies,  he  should  have 

MILAN  173 

a  passport.  He  had  it.  Porro  was  not  a  revolutionist 
but  had  always  been  against  Napoleon,  and  had 
belonged  to  a  legislative  body  by  him  dissolved  on 
account  of  obstinacy.  Brema  and  others  accompanied 
me  as  far  as  the  door,  and  I  went  to  bed. 

[It  appears  in  the  sequel  that  there  were  two 
Austrian  governors  in  Milan  at  this  period — Swarrow 
and  Bubna — one  for  civil  and  the  other  for  military 

From  that  day  I  neglected  my  Journal  till  this  day, 

December  8. — My  residence  at  Milan  lasted  till 
October  30.  During  that  time  I  had  a  most  happy 
and  pleasant  life,  Monsignor  de  Breme  taking  great 
friendship  for  me.  My  friends  and  acquaintance 
were  Breme,  Borsieri,  Guasco,  Cavalier  Breme,  Beyle, 
Negri,  Byron,  Hobhouse,  Finch,  Caravellas,  Locatelli, 
Monti,  Monti's  son-in-law,  Lord  Cowper,  Lord  Jersey, 
etc. ;  Lloyd,  Lee,  Wotheron. 

[Beyle  was  the  great  romance-writer  best  known 
as  De  Stendhal.  In  18 16  he  was  aged  thirty-three, 
and  had  published  only  one  book,  entitled  Lettres 
Rentes  de  Vienne  siir  Haydn,  suivies  d'une  Vie  de 
Mosart,  etc.  He  had  seen  some  service  under 
Napoleon,  in  Russia  and  elsewhere.  His  passionate 
admiration  of  the  now  dethroned  Emperor  induced 
him  to  retire  from  France  towards  18 14,  and  he 
resided  in   Milan  up  to  182 1.     He  died  in  Paris  in 


1842. — Hobhouse  had  rejoined  Byron  in  mid- 
September,  and  they  had  continued  together  since 
then. — Colonel  Pinch  was  the  person  through  whom 
Shelley,  in  1821,  heard  of  the  death  of  John  Keats. 
— The  Lord  Cowper  living  in  18 16  was  the  fifth  Earl, 
born  in  1778,  and  was  married  to  a  daughter  of  the 
first  Viscount  Melbourne. — The  Earl  of  Jersey,  born 
in  1773,  was  married  to  a  daughter  of  the  Earl  of 
Westmorland. — Mr.  Wotheron  is  spoken  of  later 
on  under  the  name  "  Werthern."  Neither  of  these 
surnames  has  a  very  English  aspect,  and  I  cannot 
say  which  is  correct.] 

De  Breme  and  I  became  very  intimate,  and  I  believe 
he  is  really  a  good  friend.  In  the  morning  at  10 
o'clock  I  went  to  him  to  help  him  in  English,  and 
towards  the  end  he  corrected  my  Italian  translation 
of  Count  Orlando}  We  afterwards  met  at  his  box 
every  night  in  the  theatre  of  La  Scala.  He  gave  a 
dinner  to  Lord  Byron,  at  which  were  a  good  many 
or  rather  all  my  acquaintances — Monti,  Finch,  Hob- 
house,  two  Bremes,  Borsieri,  Guasco  (translator  of 
Sophocles),  Negri  (author  of  Francesca  of  Rimini^  a 
play).  The  dinner  was  very  elegant,  and  we  were 
very  merry,  talking  chiefly  of  literature,  Castlereagh, 
Burghersh,  etc.  We  got  up  immediately  after  dinner, 
and  went  to  coffee ;  thence  most  to  the  theatre.     De 

*  Presumably  some  English  book,  but  I  know  not  what. 

MILAN  175 

Breme  was  Vicar  Almoner  under  the  French  Govern- 
ment. A  priest  came  to  him  to  ask  leave  to  confess  ; 
Breme,  knowing  the  subject,  refused.  The  Princess 
was  put  to  move  Beauharnais,  who  sent  for  Breme 
and  in  a  very  angry  mood  asked  him  why  he  had 
refused  leave.  B[reme]  said  that,  as  he  was  placed 
to  give  leave,  he  imagined  it  was  that  it  might  not  be 
granted  indiscriminately,  that  he  could  not  in  his 
conscience  give  it,  but  that  he  was  not  the  chief, 
and  the  Almoner,  being  applied  to,  might  grant  it. 
B[eauharnais]  asked  why,  saying  that  the  Princess 
wished  it,  and  it  must  be  done.  De  B[reme]  said  he 
had  undertaken  the  office  under  the  idea  that  his 
conscience  was  to  be  his  guide ;  if  not,  the  office 
should  be  immediately  vacant ;  that  he  put  it  to 
Beauharnais  himself  whether  a  man  who  was  burled 
in  the  vilest  dissoluteness  was  a  proper  person  to  be 
entrusted  with  the  care  of  young  women's  minds. 
Beauharnais  said,  "  Right,  right ;  you  shall  hear  no 
more  of  it."  This,  and  another  occasion  of  the  same 
nature,  were  the  only  occasions  in  which  he  saw 
Beauharnais  privately ;  he  avoided  the  court,  and  did 
not  seek  preferment.  He  twice  under  that  govern- 
ment refused  a  bishopric,  and  under  the  new  govern- 
ment ;  giving  me  as  a  reason  that  it  went  against 
his  conscience  to  inculcate  what  he  did  not  believe, 
and  to  add   power  to  those  who  gave  them,  as   he 


would  be  expected  to  side  with  them.  He  is 
violently  for  the  independence  of  Italy.  Christianity 
he  believes  not,  and  gives  (I  think)  a  new  argument 
why  we  should  not  be  holden  to  believe  it.  Saul,  who 
was  contemporary,  who  beheld  the  miracles  etc.,  did 
not  believe  till  a  miracle  was  operated  upon  him ; 
we  at  this  distance  cannot  believe  with  greater  facility. 
He  has  published  an  eulogium  of  Caluro,  Ingiustizia 
del  Giudizio^  etc,^  poems,  etc.  Has  written  several 
tragedies  ;  Ina  made  me  weep  like  a  child.  He  is 
warm  in  his  affections,  and  has  never  recovered  the 
death  of  one  he  loved — a  young  noble  lady,  of  great 
accomplishments  and  beauty.  His  friendship  for  me 
was  warm  :  it  gratifies  me  more  than  any  attentions, 
friendship,  or  any  relation  I  had  before,  with  my 
fellow-companions.  I  cannot  express  what  I  feel  for 
him.  When  parting  from  him,  I  wept  like  a  child 
in  his  arms.  He  maintains  from  principle,  not  from 
belief,  all  the  hardships  imposed  upon  him  by  his 
tonsure.  He  would  have  the  world  to  see  that  his 
belief  is  not  swayed  by  a  wish  to  escape  from  the 
bonds  of  the  clerical  state.  He  is  charitable,  giving 
away  great  sums  of  money  in  charity ;  eats  only  once 
a  day,  and  studies  all  day  till  the  hour  of  the  theatre ; 
kind  to  all  who  are  recommended  to  him  ;  sacrificing 
whole  days  to  show  them  what  he  has  seen  a 
thousand  times  ;  a  great  admirer  of  English  women  ; 

MILAN  177 

has  an  excellent  library,  of  which  I  had  the  use.  A 
great  friend  of  comic,  good-natured  mimicry.  Has 
an  idea  of  writing  Ida,  a  novel  containing  a  picture 
of  the  most  promising  movements  of  the  Milan 
revolution,  and  I  have  promised  to  translate  it.  He 
has  two  brothers  ;  his  father  lives  yet ;  his  eldest 
brother  is  Ambassador  at  Munich.  The  youngest 
is  Cavalier  Breme — been  officer  in  Spain  ;  extremely 
pleasant  and  affectionate  with  me.  Breme  was  a 
great  friend  of  Caluro's,  and  to  him  Caluro  dedicated 
one  of  his  opuscules. 

Borsieri,  a  man  of  great  mental  digestive  power 
and  memory,  superficially  read  ;  author  of  //  Giorno, 
a  work  written  with  great  grace  and  lightness.  He 
was  very  intimate  with  me,  Guasco,  and  Breme. 
Guasco,  a  Piedmontese ;  little  reading,  but  great 
mental  vision  and  talents.  He  also  was  one  who 
attached  himself  a  good  deal  to  me.  De  Beyle, 
formerly  Intendant  des  Marches  (I  think)  to  Buona- 
parte, and  his  secretary  when  in  the  country.  A  fat 
lascivious  man.  A  great  deal  of  anecdote  about 
Buonaparte :  calls  him  an  inimitable  et  bon  despote. 
He  related  many  anecdotes — I  don't  remember 
them:  amongst  other  things,  he  said  Buonaparte 
despised  the  Italians  much. 

[This   last   detail   is  confirmed  in  Beyle's  Remin- 
iscences of  Napoleon,  published  not  long  ago.] 


These    four    were    the    usual    attendants   at    Dc 
Breme's  box. 

Monti  is  a  short,  roundish,  quick-eyed,  and  rather 
rascally-faced  man,  affable,  easily  fired  ;  talks  rather 
nonsense  when  off  poetry,  and  even  upon  that  not 
good.  Great  imagination  ;  very  weak.  Republican 
always  in  conversation  with  us;  but  in  the  first 
month,  after  having  declaimed  strongly  in  B[reme']s 
box  about  liberty  and  Germans,  just  as  they  were 
going  out  he  said,  "  But  now  let  us  talk  no  more  of 
this,  on  account  of  my  pension."  Under  the  French 
government  he  gained  a  great  deal  by  his  various 
offices  ;  by  this  one  he  has  been  abridged  of  half. 
He  translated  the  Iliad  of  Homer  without  knowing 
a  word  of  Greek ;  he  had  it  translated  by  his  friends, 
word  for  word  written  under  the  Greek.  Easily 
influenced  by  the  opinions  of  others  ;  in  fact,  a  com- 
plete weathercock.  He  married  the  daughter  of 
Pickler,  the  engraver;  a  fine  woman,  and  they  say 
an  exceedingly  good  reciter,  as  he  is  himself  She 
has  acted  in  his  plays  upon  the  Philodramatic  stage. 
His  daughter  is  married. 

Negri — Marchese  Negri  ^ — a  Genoese,  not  an  im- 
provisatore — very   chatty ;    has    at    Genoa    a    most 

1  I  think  the  name  would  correctly  be  Marchese  di  Negro : 
my  father  had  some  correspondence,  towards  1850,  with  the  then 
Marchese  of  that  family. 

MILAN  179 

beautiful  garden  which  all  the  English  visit.  Related 
to  me  Gianni's  beginning.  Gianni  was  an  apprentice 
to  a  stay-maker,  when  one  day  an  Abate,  going 
into  the  shop,  found  him  busily  engaged  in  reading. 
Looking  at  the  book,  he  asked  him  if  he  understood 
it.  He  said  yes,  and,  on  reading,  showed  it  by  his 
expression.  The  Abate,  who  was  an  improvisatore, 
asked  him  to  see  him  next  morning ;  when  he 
improvised  before  him,  and  observed  that  the  young 
Gianni  seemed  as  if  his  mind  was  full  and  wished 
to  give  forth.  He  had  him  sent  to  school,  and  intro- 
duced him.  Gianni  in  the  Revolution,  taking  the 
Liberal  side,  was  obliged  to  leave  Rome,  and,  going 
to  Genoa,  Negri  heard  by  letter  of  it,  and  went  to 
seek  him,  inviting  him  to  dine  with  him.  He  refused; 
and  Negri,  who  had  promised  his  friends  that  he 
would  be  of  the  party,  at  the  hour  of  dinner  went 
and  found  him  with  his  nightcap  on,  deeply  reading 
his  favourite  Dante ;  and  in  a  manner  dragged  him 
by  force  to  his  house,  where  Gianni  pleased  much — 
and  stayed  a  year  at  Negri's  house,  teaching  him  the 
art  of  improvisation.  Gianni's  improvisations  were 
(many)  improvised  on  the  spot  by  an  Abate  into 
Latin  verse. — Negri  came  to  Breme's  box  several 
times,  and  had  the  effect  of  making  all  except 
Breme  burst  with  laughter :  me  he  sent  to  sleep. 
Lord  Byron  came  to  Milan,  and  I  saw  him  there 


a  good  deal.  He  received  me  kindly,  and  corrected 
the  English  of  my  essay  in  Tlu  Pamphleteer}  He 
visited  a  good  deal  Breme's  box.  Mr.  Hobhouse 
was  with  him. 

Colonel  Finch,  an  extremely  pleasant,  good-natured, 
well-informed,  clever  gentleman;  spoke  Italian  ex- 
tremely well,  and  was  very  well  read  in  Italian 
literature.  A  ward  of  his  gave  a  masquerade  in 
London  upon  her-  coming  of  age.  She  gave  to 
each  a  character  in  the  reign  of  Queen  Elizabeth 
to  support,  without  the  knowledge  of  each  other, 
and  received  them  in  a  saloon  in  proper  style  as 
Queen  Elizabeth.  He  mentioned  to  me  that  Nelli 
had  written  a  Life  of  Galileo  extremely  fair,  which, 
if  he  had  money  by  him,  he  would  buy  that  it 
might  be  published, — in  Italy  they  dare  not ;  and 
that  Galileo's  MSS.  were  in  dispute,  so  that  the 
heirs  will  not  part  with  them ;  they  contain  some 
new  and  some  various  readings.  Finch  is  a  great 
admirer  of  architecture  and  Italy. — Wotheron,  Mr., 
a  gentleman  most  peaceable  and  quiet  I  ever  saw, 
accompanying  Finch ;  whose  only  occupation  is, 
when  he  arrives  at  a  town  or  other  place,  to  set 
about  sketching  and  then  colouring,  so  that  he  has 
perhaps   the   most   complete   collection   of  sketches 

^  This  essay  was  on  the  Punishment  of  Death. 
2  The  word  written  is  "  his  "  ;  but  the  context  shows  that  this 
must  be  a  mistake. 

MILAN  i8i 

of  his  tour  possible.  He  invited  me  (taking  me 
for  an  Italian),  in  case  I  went  to  England,  to  see 
him  ;  and,  hearing  I  was  English,  he  pressed  me 
much  more. — Locatelli  was  the  physician  of  the 
hospital,  a  good  unimpostoring  physician.  I  saw 
under  him  a  case  of  pemphizus,  and  had  under  my 
care  an  hysterical  woman. 

Jersey,  Lady,  promised  to  enquire  of  her  mother. 
Lady  Westmorland,  if  she  would  employ  me  as 
her  physician ;  but  said  she  thought  my  having  been 
with  Lord  B[yron]  a  great  objection. 

[I  have  an  impression,  not  a  secure  one,  that  Dr. 
Polidori  did  act  to  some  extent  as  Lady  Westmor- 
land's medical  adviser.  It  would  here  appear  that 
her  Ladyship  was  not  very  partial  to  Byron ;  and 
Byron  must  have  repaid  her  dislike,  for  I  find,  in  a 
letter  of  his  to  Murray,  November  1817,  that  Polidori 
was  in  the  way  of  receiving  "  the  patronage  of  Frederic 
North,  the  most  illustrious  humbug  of  his  age  and 
country,  and  the  blessing  of  Lady  Westmorland, 
William  Ward's  mad  woman."  Joseph  Severn  the 
painter  (Keats's  friend),  who  saw  a  good  deal  of  Lady 
Westmorland  at  one  time,  terms  her  "  this  impulsive, 
arrogant,  dictatorial,  but  witty  and  brilliant  woman."] 

Lloyd  ; — as  I  was  moving  in  the  pit,  found  him,  and 
never  saw  a  person  so  glad  in  my  life.  He  offered 
me  half  of  the  money  he  had  at  his  banker's,  as  he 
thought  I    must  be   much   embarrassed.      Told    me 


Brelaz  and  Bertolini  seemed  to  be  together,  and  that 
the  man  seemed  worked  off  his  legs. 

My  life  at  Milan  was  very  methodical.  I  got  up, 
went  to  the  hospital,  breakfasted,  came  home,  studied, 
dined,  and  then  at  7  went  to  the  theatre.  Between 
breakfast  and  study  went  to  de  Breme  to  help  him 
in  English.  It  was  proposed  too,  by  him,  to  teach 
English,  which  I  had  intended  to  do. 

I  saw  only  the  dome  under  which  is  the  chapel  of 
St.  Borromeo — very  rich  in  silver,  crystal,  and  jewels. 
The  body  is  vested  in  pontificals,  and  quite  dry.  The 
orbits  seem  only  filled  with  a  little  heap  of  black 
dirt,  and  the  skull  etc.  is  black.  There  is  here  the 
gnometer  of  Cassini.  They  preserve  here  a  nail  of 
the  cross  of  Christ. — St.  Ambrose,  the  ancient  Cathe- 
dral. It  was  at  the  gates  of  this  that  Theodosius  was 
refused  entrance. — The  Brera  library;  and  the  Am- 
brosian,  where  I  saw  the  Virgil  with  marginal  notes 
of  Petrarch ;  some  of  the  pieces  of  MSS.  of  the 
Plautus  and  Terence,  fragments  edited  by  Mai. — 
Some  of  the  paintings  there  are  beautiful.  The 
Milanese  Raphael  has  some  heads  expressing  such 
mild  heavenly  meekness  as  is  scarcely  imagined. 

[This  Raphael  is,  as  many  readers  will  know,  the 
Sposalizio,  or  Espousal  of  the  Virgin  Mary  and 
Joseph.  Being  an  early  work  by  the  master,  it 
exhibits,  in  its  ''mild  heavenly  meekness,"  more  of 

MILAN  183 

the  style  of  Perugino  than  of  that  which  became 
distinctive  of  Raphael  in  his  maturity.] 

When  at  Milan,  I  spent  almost  all  my  money  in 
books,  buying  nearly  3CX)  volumes,  not  being  able  to 
resist  that  thirst  for  printed  sheets,  many  of  which  I 
never  shall  read. 

Swarrow,  the  Governor  of  Milan,  when  the 
Emperor  was  there,  accompanying  him  to  the  theatre, 
saw  that  one  poor  man  in  the  pit,  leaning  against  a 
box,  had  dared  to  keep  his  hat  on.  Violently 
enraged,  he  enters  the  box,  without  leave  or  saying 
a  word  ;  and,  leaning  over  the  box  with  all  his  orders 
dangling  at  his  breast,  applies  two  hearty  slaps  to  the 
poor  man's  cheeks,  and  then,  rising  majestically, 
leaves  the  box,  and  goes  to  receive  the  despot's 
smile.  This  making  a  great  hubbub,  and  exciting  a 
great  deal  of  ridicule  against  the  noble  police-officer, 
he  insisted  with  the  police-director  that  not  a  word 
more  should  be  allowed  to  be  said. 

When  at  Milan,  there  came  Sgricci,  a  Tuscan, 
under  the  patronage  of  Monti,  who  puffed  him  most 
egregiously,  especially  his  tragic  improvisati.  I 
accompanied  de  Breme  to  Casa  Crivelli,  where  I  saw 
Swarrow  and  a  cardinal ;  a  dried-up  ganache  [?]  with 
a  face  of  malice  that  had  dried  up  with  the  features  of 
the  face,  but  still  remained  sketched  there  in  pretty 
forcible    lines.      The   improvisator   entered ;    yellow 


boots  with  trousers,  blue  coat,  and  a  Flemish  collar  to 
his  shirt.  He  began  The  Loves  of  Psyche  and  Cupid ; 
commonplace,  unpoetic  rhymes.  Coriolanus,  a  tra- 
gedy ;  such  an  abominable  opiate  that,  in  spite  of 
my  pinching  myself  and  Cavalier  Breme  rousing  me 
every  minute,  I  found  myself,  when  ended,  roused  by 
the  applause  from  a  pleasant  nap.  Heard  him  again 
at  the  theatre;  terza  rima ;  The  Grief  of  Mausoka} 
The  only  bearable  parts  were  those  about  Aurora, 
night,  etc.,  which  he  had  beforehand  prepared,  to 
clap-in  at  convenience,  from  the  Gradus  ad  Parnassum, 
The  tragedy  being  drawn  out,  first  came  The  Death  of 
Socrates.  He  came  forward,  saying  that,  this  subject 
being  undramatizable,  he  would,  if  the  public  insisted, 
attempt  it,  but  that  he  had  rather  another  might  be 
drawn.  Montezuma  came  out.  "  Oh,"  says  he,  "  this 
will  touch  your  passions  too  much,  and  offend  many 
probably  personally."  The  public  here  stoutly 
hissed,  and  insisted  he  should  proceed  ;  he  as  stoutly 
called  on  the  boy  to  draw,  which  he  did,  and,  there 
coming  forth  Eteocles  and  Polynices,  he  was  satisfied, 
making  olla  podrida  scenica  of  French  ragouts,  Italian 
minestras,  and  Greek  black  soup.  It  was  reported 
that  Monti's  taking  him  up  was  by  the  persuasion  of 
his  daughter.  An  epigram  was  written  upon  Sgricci, 
as  follows  nearly — 
^  /.  e.  Artemisia,  who  built  the  mausoleum  of  Halicarnassus. 

MILAN  185 

"  In  questi  tempi  senza  onore  e  merto 
Lavora  Sgricci  in  vano,  ha  un  altro  il  serto." 

[The  translation  of  this  couplet  is — "  In  these  times 
without  honour  and  merit  Sgricci  labours  in  vain — 
another  man  wears  the  wreath."  It  will  be  seen  that 
the  epigram,  if  such  it  can  be  considered,  runs  in 
favour  of  Sgricci.  He  was  a  native  of  Arezzo,  and,  as 
our  text  shows,  a  renowned  improvisatore.  I  happen 
to  possess  a  printed  tragedy  of  his,  Ettore,  which  is 
notified  as  having  been  improvised  in  the  Teatro  Ca- 
rignano,  Turin,  on  June  13,  1823.  Shelley  in  January 
182 1  attended  one  of  Sgricci's  improvisations,  and  was 
deeply  impressed  by  it  as  a  wonderful  effort,  and  even, 
considered  in  itself,  a  fine  poetic  success.  In  1869, 
being  entrusted  with  some  MS.  books  by  Shelley 
through  the  courtesy  of  his  son  the  late  Baronet,  I 
read  a  tribute  of  some  length  which  the  great  English 
poet  had  paid  to  the  Italian  improvisatore  :  it  has 
not  yet  been  published,  and  is  included,  I  suppose, 
among  the  Shelley  MSS.  bequeathed  to  the  Bodleian 
Library.  The  subject  on  which  Shelley  heard 
Sgricci  improvise  was  Hector  (Ettore).  One  rather 
suspects  that  the  Ettore  improvised  in  1823  may  have 
been  partly  reminiscent  of  its  predecessor  in  1821. 
The  portrait  of  Sgricci,  a  man  of  some  thirty-five 
years  of  age,  appears  in  the  book  which  I  possess  : 
it  shows  a  costume  of  the  fancy-kind  that  Polidori 


speaks  of.  I  have  looked  through  the  tragedy,  and 
do  not  concur  in  the  tone  of  ridicule  in  which 
Polidori  indulges.  An  improvise  can  only  be 
criticized  as  an  improvise,  and  this  appears  to  me 
a  very  fair  specimen. — As  I  have  had  occasion  here 
to  re-mention  Shelley,  I  may  as  well  add  that  Medwin 
{Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  i,  p.  250),  says  that  the  poet  had 
no  animosity  against  Polidori,  consequent  upon  any 
past  collisions  :  "  Shelley  I  have  often  heard  speak  of 
Polidori,  but  without  any  feeling  of  ill-will."] 

Going  one  evening  with  L[ord]  B[yron]  and  Mr. 
H[obhouse]  to  B[reme]'s  box,  Mr.  Hobhouse,  Bor- 
sieri,  and  myself,  went  into  the  pit,  standing  to  look 
at  the  ballet.  An  officer  in  a  great-coat  came  and 
placed  himself  completely  before  me  with  his  grena- 
dier's hat  on.  I  remarked  it  to  my  companions  : 
"  Guarda  a  colui  colla  sua  berretta  in  testa  "  (I  believe 
those  were  my  words),  waiting  a  few  minutes  to  see  if 
he  would  move.  I  touched  him,  and  said,  "  Vorrebbe 
farmi  la  grazia  di  levarsi  il  cappello  purch'io  vegga  ?  " 
He  turning  said  "  Lo  vorreste  1 "  with  a  smile  of 
insult.     I  answered  :  "SI,  lo  voglio."^    He  then  asked 

1  The  speeches  run  thus :  (a)  Look  at  that  man,  with  his  cap 
on  his  head,  (d)  Would  you  do  me  the  favour  of  taking  off 
your  hat,  so  that  I  may  see?  (c)  Would  you  wish  for  it? 
(d)  Yes,  I  wish  it.  In  Italian,  this  last  phrase  has  an  imperative 
tone,  "  I  win  it." — It  may  be  added  that  the  Austrian's  phrase 
"  Lo  vorreste?"  was  itself  not  civil :  the  civil  form  would  have 
been  "  Lo  vorrebbe  ella  ?  '* 

MILAN  187 

me  if  I  would  go  out  with  him.  I,  thinking  he  meant 
for  a  duel,  said,  "  Yes,  with  pleasure  "  ;  and  called  Mr. 
Hobhouse  to  accompany  me.  He  did.  When  pass- 
ing by  the  guard-house  he  said,  "  Go  in,  go  in  there  "  ; 
I  said  I  would  not,  that  it  was  not  there  I  thought  of 
going  with  him.  Then  he  swore  in  German,  and  drew 
half  his  sabre  with  a  threatening  look,  but  Hobhouse 
held  his  hand.  The  police  on  guard  came,  and  he 
delivered  me  to  their  custody.  I  entered  the  guard- 
house, and  he  began  declaiming  about  the  insult  to 
one  like  him.  I  said  I  was  his  equal,  and,  being  in 
the  theatre,  to  any  one  there.  "  Equal  to  me  ?  "  he 
retorted  ;  "you  are  not  equal  to  the  last  of  the 
Austrian  soldiers  in  the  house " ;  and  then  began 
abusing  me  in  all  the  Billingsgate  German  he  was 
master  of — which  I  did  not  know  till  afterwards.  In 
the  meanwhile  the  news  had  spread  in  the  theatre,  and 
reached  de  Breme  and  L[ord]  Byron,  who  came  run- 
ning down,  and  tried  to  get  me  away,  but  could  not  on 
any  plea.  De  Breme  heard  the  secretary  of  police 
say  to  the  officer  :  "  Don't  you  meddle  with  this,  leave 
it  to  me."  De  Breme  said  he  would  go  to  Bubna 
immediately,  and  get  an  order  for  my  dismission ;  on 
which  the  officer  took  Lord  Byron's  card,  as  bail  that 
I  would  appear  to  answer  for  my  conduct  on  the 
morrow.     Then  I  was  released. 

Next   morning    I    received  a  printed    order   from 
the  police  to  attend.     As  soon  as  I  saw  the  order 


I  went  to  De  Breme,  who  accompanied  me  to  the 
gate.  I  entered.  "  Where  do  you  wish  your  pass- 
port vised  for?"  "I  am  not  thinking  of  going." 
"You  must  be  off  in  four-and -twenty  hours  for 
Florence."  "  But  I  wish  for  more  time."  "  You 
must  be  off  in  that  time,  or  you  will  have  some- 
thing disagreeable  happen  to  you."  Breme,  upon 
hearing  this,  immediately  set  off  to  Bubna,  and  I 
to  Lord  Byron,  who  sent  Mr.  Hobhouse  in  company 
of  Colonel  McSomething  to  Swarrow  to  ask  that  I 
might  not  be  obliged  to  go.  They  went.  Swarrow 
received  them  with  a  pen  in  his  hand ;  said  it  was 
a  bagatelle ;  that  the  Secretary  of  Police  had  been 
there  in  the  morning,  and  that  he  had  told  him  of  it. 
That  it  was  nothing,  that  I  should  find  myself  as  well 
off  in  any  other  city  as  there,  and  that,  if  I  stayed, 
something  worse  might  happen.  Hobhouse  tried  to 
speak.  S[warrow]  advanced  a  foot ;  "  Give  my 
compliments  to  Lord  Byron  ;  am  sorry  I  was  not  at 
home  when  he  called."  "  But  if  this  is  so  mere  a 
trifle  .  .  ." — "I  hope  Lord  Byron  is  well";  advanc- 
ing another  foot,  and  then  little  by  little  got  them 
so  near  the  door  that  they  saw  it  was  useless,  and 
left  him.  De  Breme  in  the  meanwhile  had  been 
to  Bubna.  Bubna  received  him  very  politely,  and 
said  he  had  already  seen  Colonel  M.,  who  had  ex- 
plained to  him  the  whole ;  and  that  for  the  mistake 
of  speaking   to   the   officer   on  guard  he  thought  it 

MILAN  189 

enough  that  I  had  been  put  under  arrest.  "  I 
am  much  obHged  to  you,  and  am  glad  then  that 
my  friend  will  not  have  to  leave  Milan."  "  What  do 
you  mean  ? "  Breme  explained.  "  It  is  impossible, 
there  must  be  some  mistake,  for  I  have  had  no 
memorial  of  it.  I  will  see  Swarrow  this  evening 
about  it."  De  Breme  mentioned  with  what  idea  I  had 
left  the  theatre.  Bubna  said  that  German  soldiers 
had  one  prejudice  less;  and  at  the  theatre  in  the 
evening  I  heard  many  instances  of  the  officers  of 
the  Austrian  Army  acting  meanly  in  this  respect. 
Amongst  others,  Bubna's  son,  being  challenged  for 
insulting  a  lady  at  a  public  ball,  accepted  the 
challenge,  but  said  there  were  several  things  he  had 
to  settle  first,  and  that  he  would  appoint  a  day  for  the 
following  week.  He  left  Milan  the  Saturday  before. 
A  young  Italian  had  a  dispute  with  a  Hussar  officer, 
and  challenged  him,  for  which  he  was  brought  before 
the  police  and  reprimanded.  Some  days  after,  the 
officer,  standing  at  a  coffee-room  door,  asked  him  if 
he  wished  to  settle  the  affair  with  him.  He  said  yes, 
and  they  immediately  entered.  The  officer  spoke  to 
several  of  his  companions  in  the  room,  and  they  all 
struck  the  young  man,  and  pushed  him  out.  He 
could  get  no  redress. 

[This  affair  of  Dr.  Polidori's  shindy  in  the  theatre 
excited  some  remark.  His  feelings  in  favour  of  Italy 
and  Italians  were  keen,  as  he  was  himself  half  Italian 


by  blood  ;  and  he  was  evidently  not  disinclined  to 
pick  a  quarrel  with  an  Austrian  military  man.  He 
was  indiscreet,  and  indeed  wrong,  in  asking  an 
Austrian  officer  on  guard  to  take  off  his  cap ;  and, 
although  he  addressed  the  officer  at  first  in  courteous 
terms,  his  expression  "  Lo  voglio "  was  not  to  be 
brooked  even  by  a  civilian.  Lord  Byron  mentioned 
the  matter  in  a  letter  to  his  sister,  November  6,  1816, 
as  follows :  "  Dr.  Polidori,  whom  I  parted  with  before 
I  left  Geneva  (not  for  any  great  harm,  but  because  he 
was  always  in  squabbles,  and  had  no  sort  of  conduct), 
contrived  at  Milan,  which  he  reached  before  me,  to 
get  into  a  quarrel  with  an  Austrian,  and  to  be  ordered 
out  of  the  city  by  the  Government.  I  did  not  even 
see  his  adventure,  nor  had  anything  to  do  with  it, 
except  getting  him  out  of  arrest,  and  trying  to  get 
him  altogether  out  of  the  scrape."  And  on  the  same 
day  to  Thomas  Moore.  "On  arriving  at  Milan  I 
found  this  gentleman  in  very  good  society,  where  he 
prospered  for  some  weeks ;  but  at  length,  in  the 
theatre,  he  quarrelled  with  an  Austrian  officer,  and 
was  sent  out  by  the  Government  in  twenty-four  hours. 
I  could  not  prevent  his  being  sent  off;  which,  indeed, 
he  partly  deserved,  being  quite  in  the  wrong,  and 
having  begun  a  row  for  row's  sake.  He  is  not  a  bad 
fellow,  but  young  and  hot-headed,  and  more  likely  to 
incur  diseases  than  to  cure  them."  Beyle  likewise 
has   left   an  account  of  the   affair,  translated   thus. 

MILAN  191 

"  One  evening,  in  the  middle  of  a  philosophical 
argument  on  the  principle  of  utility,  Silvio  Pellico,  a 
delightful  poet,  came  in  breathless  haste  to  apprise 
Lord  Byron  that  his  friend  and  physician  Polidori 
had  been  arrested.  We  instantly  ran  to  the  guard- 
house. It  turned  out  that  Polidori  had  fancied  him- 
self incommoded  in  the  pit  by  the  fur  cap  of  the 
officer  on  guard,  and  had  requested  him  to  take  it 
off,  alleging  that  it  impeded  his  view  of  the  stage. 
The  poet  Monti  had  accompanied  us,  and,  to  the 
number  of  fifteen  or  twenty,  we  surrounded  the 
prisoner.  Every  one  spoke  at  once.  Polidori  was 
beside  himself  with  passion,  and  his  face  red  as  a 
burning  coal.  Byron,  though  he  too  was  in  a  violent 
rage,  was  on  the  contrary  pale  as  ashes.  His  patrician 
blood  boiled  as  he  reflected  on  the  slight  consideration 
in  which  he  was  held.  The  Austrian  officer  ran  from 
the  guard-house  to  call  his  men,  who  seized  their 
arms  that  had  been  piled  on  the  outside.  Monti's  idea 
was  excellent :  *  Sortiamo  tutti — restino  solamente 
i  titolati '  (Let  us  all  go  out — only  the  men  of  title  to 
remain).  De  Breme  remained,  with  the  Marquis  di 
Sartirana,  his  brother,  Count  Confalonieri,  and  Lord 
Byron.  These  gentlemen  having  written  their  names 
and  titles,  the  list  was  handed  to  the  officer  on  guard, 
who  instantly  forgot  the  insult  offered  to  his  fur  cap, 
and  allowed  Polidori  to  leave  the  guard-house.  In 
the  evening,  however,  the  Doctor  received  an  order  to 


quit  Milan  within  twenty-four  hours.  Foaming  with 
rage,  he  swore  that  he  would  one  day  return  and 
bestow  manual  castigation  on  the  Governor  who  had 
treated  him  with  so  little  respect." — One  other  obser- 
vation of  Beyle,  regarding  Polidori  and  Byron,  may  be 
introduced  here.  "  Polidori  informed  us  that  Byron 
often  composed  a  hundred  verses  in  the  course  of  the 
morning.  On  his  return  from  the  theatre  in  the 
evening,  still  under  the  charm  of  the  music  to  which 
he  had  listened,  he  would  take  up  his  papers,  and 
reduce  his  hundred  verses  to  five-and-twenty  or  thirty. 
He  often  sat  up  all  night  in  the  ardour  of  composition." 
— As  Polidori's  passport  is  prominently  mentioned 
at  this  point  of  the  Diary,  I  may  add  a  few  particulars 
about  it.  It  was  granted  on  April  17,  18 16,  by  the 
Conte  Ambrogio  Cesare  San  Martino  d'Aglia, 
Minister  of  the  King  of  Sardinia  in  London  ;  and  it 
authorized  Polidori  to  travel  in  Italy — no  mention 
being  made  of  Switzerland,  nor  yet  of  Lord  Byron. 
The  latest  visa  on  the  passport  is  at  Pisa,  for 
going  to  Florence.  This  is  signed  "  II  Governatore, 
Viviani,"  whom  we  may  safely  assume  to  have  been 
a  relative  of  Shelley's  Emilia.  The  date  of  this  final 
visa  is  February  17,  18 17.] 

October  30. — Got  up  early  next  morning,  packed  up 
my  books  and  things ;  then  went  to  seek  for  a  coach 
that  was  parting  for  Lodi.     Found  one,  and  fixed  that 

LODI  193 

a  vetturino,  who  was  going  to  set  off  next  day  for 
Florence,  should  take  me  up  at  Lodi.  Went  to  see 
de  Breme.  He  told  me  he  had  been  to  Bubna's,  but 
that  he  had  found  him  out  at  a  council  of  war,  and 
that  he  had  left  an  order  none  should  follow  him.  I 
took  leave  of  de  Breme,  and  wept  in  his  arms  like  a 
child,  for  his  kindness  and  friendship  had  been  dear 
to  me.  I  took  leave  of  L[ord]  B[yron],  H[obhouse], 
and  Guasco.  The  last  offered  me  his  services  in  any 
way,  and  said  he  should  take  it  as  a  favour  the  oftener 
he  was  applied  to.  I  got  into  the  coach  with  only 
5  louis  in  my  pocket,  leaving  my  books  in  the  care 
of  de  Breme,  and  left  Milan  with  rage  and  grief  so 
struggling  in  my  breast  that  tears  often  started  in  my 
eyes,  and  all  I  could  think  of  was  revenge  against 
Swarrow  and  the  officer  in  particular,  and  a  hope  that 
before  I  left  Italy  there  might  be  a  rising  to  which  I 
might  join  myself  I  arrived  at  Lodi ;  wrote  to  Lloyd 
to  ask  him  to  lend  me  some  money,  and  went  to  bed 

October  31. — Up  at  9:  breakfasted.  Went  to  see 
the  Duomo  and  other  churches  without  feeling  inter- 
est ;  the  hospital,  which  is  a  magnificent  building. 
Returning  to  the  inn,  I  met  the  vetturino.  I  found 
in  the  coach  a  Prussian  student  of  Heidelberg  who 
had  made  the  campaigns  of  '13  and  '14  with  the 
rest  of  his  companions,  and  who  was  banished 


Heidelberg  for  slapping  a  Russian  in  the  face. 
Growled  against  his  king  for  not  keeping  his  promise ; 
hated  the  French,  and  gave  me  an  interesting  account 
of  the  way  of  spending  the  winter  evenings  in  his  part 
of  Germany,  Pomerania  ;  the  young  working  at  some 
pursuit  of  hand,  the  old  relating  their  tale  of  youth. 
A  Milanese  woman  and  son.  We  went  that  evening 
to  Casal  Panterlungo.  Supped  and  went  to  bed,  I 
and  the  Prussian  in  the  same  room. 

November  2. — Up  at  4.  Across  the  Taro  to  Parma. 
Went,  in  spite  of  my  having  so  little  money,  in  search 
of  books — Boccaccio's  Fiammetta,  The  Cathedral 
and  Baptistery.  From  Parma  to  Reggio,  a  beautiful 
town  with  fine  palaces  and  porticoes,  though,  on 
account  of  the  few  inhabitants,  appearing  a  huge 
sepulchre.     To  Rubiera  :  supped  and  slept. 

November  3. — Up  at  4.  Through  Modena,  where 
I  saw  the  Duomo,  and  the  Tower  which  contains  the 
Lecchia  porticoes — palaces  of  the  Duke — four  orders 
heaped  one  on  the  other.  Here  they  examined  my 
box,  and  were  going  to  send  it  to  the  dogana  on 
account  of  books;  when,  upon  my  saying  I  was  a 
physician,  they  let  them  pass. 

At  Bologna  supped  with  the  Prussian.  To  the 
opera.  Saw  a  ballet,  extremely  ridiculous  :  barbarian 
dances  with  astonishing  powers  of  limbs  forming  in 
the  air  [postures]  out  and  in  on  their  feet. 


November  4. — Up  at  9.  Went  to  see  the  churches 
and  [a]  private  gallery.  After  dinner  roamed  about 
the  town  in  a  most  melancholy  mood,  entering  the 
churches  and  sitting  in  the  dark  for  an  hour,  etc. 
Went  to  the  Theatre  of  Cento  Cavalli :  beautiful 
Greek  architecture.     To  bed — a  play. 

November  5. — At  10,  expecting  to  have  been  called 
before,  the  vetturino  came,  saying  he  would  not  go, 
since  I  had  hindered  the  Prussian  from  setting  off  on 
Monday,  without  security ;  and  that  he  would  go  to 
the  police  to  gain  it  from  the  Prussian  that  he  should 
be  paid  at  Florence.  After  a  good  deal  of  disputing 
I  gave  it,  in  a  promissory  note  that  I  would  pay  if 
he  could  not.  Found  afterwards  it  was  only  to  get 

Went  to  see  the  churches,  the  public  place,  San 
Prospero,  the  Neptune.  After  dinner  to  Madonna 
Santa  Lucia.  Along  the  portico  "  Questo  e  da 
vendere  "  ^  was  written  on  portions  of  the  wall.  The 
public  cemetery.  Saw  a  coffin,  when  dark,  brought 
into  the  church  with  torches.  The  poor  are  separated 
from  the  rich,  and  have  only  the  turf  upon  them  :  the 
rich  groan  under  the  weight  of  marble.  The  priests, 
monks,  nuns,  etc.,  all  in  separate  squares ;  a  cardinal's 
hat  covering  a  death's  head. 

Returned  to  Bologna.     Went  to  the  theatre.     Saw 
1  "To  be  sold." 


Agnese :  wept  like  a  child  :  the  acting  of  the  madman 
inimitable.     Went  to  bed. 

November  6. — Up  at  ii.  Set  off  with  the  Prussian 
and  an  Italian  officer  across  the  Apennines.  Oxen  in 
continual  use.  Misty,  so  could  not  enjoy  the  view. 
Dreadful  winds  to  Pianoro.  That  evening  the  officer 
related  all  the  services  he  had  been  in ;  French 
liberty,  Consulship,  Emperor.  Refused  by  the 
Austrians ;  went  to  Murat,  and  now  going  to  offer 
himself  to  the  Pope ;  if  not  accepted,  to  America. 
For  which  side  ?  "  Spanish  or  Creole."  ^  He  had  the 
unfeelingness  to  joke  upon  his  father's  being  killed  in 
the  time  of  the  liberty-rows,  saying  he  got  that  for  not 
changing ;  on  which  I  felt  so  nettled  that  I  spoke  for 
half-an-hour  upon  the  ruin  the  fickleness  of  the 
Italians  had  brought  upon  themselves.  He  felt,  I 
think,  ashamed  ;  at  least  he  gave  up  that  kind  of  light 

Forgot  to  say  that  at  Modena  I  presented^  my 
passport  so  that  the  **  24  hours  "  were  invisible ;  and 
left  at  Modena  one  who  had  accompanied  us  from 
Piacenza,  telling  the  most  barefaced  lies  about  boars, 
dogs,  and  thieves,  that  were  ever  heard. 

^  These  words  form  (I  suppose)  the  answer  of  the  Italian 
officer—/,  e.  he  would  side  with  either  party  indifferently. 

^  I  presume  that  the  word  should  be  "  presented "  :  the 
writing  looks  like  "pented." 


November  7. — At  4  up.  Arrived  at  night  at 
Fortebuona.  Dreadful  wind  and  rain.  Supped  and 
went  to  bed. 

November  8. — At  5  walked  a  good  part  of  the 
road.  Arrived  at  Florence  by  the  Porta  San  Gallo, 
through  the  Arch.  The  custom-house  officer,  when 
we  told  him,  if  he  wanted  to  look,  he  might  open, 
[replied] :  "  Che  ?  Un  servo  del  sovrano  ?  Ci  sono  dei 
facchini."  ^ 

Florence,  on  entering,  disappointed  me,  as  we  were 
obliged  to  go  round  on  account  of  the  road  being 
mended.  Went  to  the  inn.  Dressed — not  having 
changed  linen  since  Milan.  Went  to  the  post :  no 
letters.  In  despair,  remaining  with  only  four  scudi. 
Walked  about  the  town, — Arno  :  into  the  Cathedral 
and  Baptistery. 

Went  to  seek  Cavalier  Pontelli.^  Knocked  at  his 
door,  along  Arno — both  before  and  behind.  Could 
not  make  any  one  hear.  One  who  lived  near 
(Lecchini),  upon  my  asking  how  to  get  in,  said  he  was 
thankful  to  say  he  was  not  Pontelli,  and  did  not  know. 
Returned  home.     Gave  the  Prussian  a  missal  I  had 

^  "What?  A  servant  of  the  sovereign  ?  There  are  porters." 
2  I  suppose  that  Pontelli  was  a  person  who  had  been  more  or 
less  known  to  Dr.  Polidori's  father  before  the  latter  left  Italy  in 
1787,  and  that  the  father  had  given  his  son  some  letter  of  intro- 
duction or  the  like.  Or  possibly  the  introduction  came  from 
some  acquaintance  in  Geneva  or  in  Milan. 


bought  at  Bologna.  He  broke  my  pipe.  Went  to 
bed.     Wrote  to  Pontelli  and  Breme. 

November  9. — Got  up  ;  went  to  seek  Pontelli. 
Found  he  had  a  villa  at  Porta  San  Gallo.  Went 
thither,  knocked ;  saw  his  head  pop  out  of  the  window 
in  a  greasy  night-cap.  On  my  announcing  myself, 
he  descended,  opened  the  door,  and  received  me 
with  welcome.  Found  him  at  breakfast,  sausages, 
caviare,  etc.  Sat  down ;  told  me  his  housekeeper  would 
not  show  herself ;  invited  me  to  come  to  his  house 
instead  of  the  inn.  Went  into  town  ;  took  a  peep  at 
the  Gallery — at  the  precious  vases,  Venus,  etc.  Went 
to  the  inn.  Put  up  my  things,  paid  ;  and,  seeing 
the  Prussian  envied  me  my  desk,  I  gave  it  him,  on 
condition  that,  if  we  ever  met  again,  he  would  paint 
me  a  picture  he  sketched  in  my  album.  Went  to 
Pontelli ;  dined;  accompanied  him  to  town.  His 
servant  took  a  porter  to  carry  my  things  to  the  Arno 
house,  and  then  we  went  to  pay  visits. 

In  the  way  he  told  me  he  lived  very  retired,  and 
very  economically  that  he  might  not  want ;  that  the 
people  now  looked  upon  him  with  a  good  eye ;  that 
the  Government  also  did  not  prosecute  him  ;  and  that 
he  in  fine  thought  that  a  revolution  would  be  general 
— trying  to  persuade  me  that  his  avarice  was  mere 

Went  to  pay  a  visit  to  Cavalier  Tomasi,  a  Cortonian. 


Found  many  in  the  room,  who  all  sat  upon  me  about 
English  politics.  Left  them  when  they  were  going 
to  play.  Thence  to  Abate  Fontani,  Librarian  of  the 
Riccardi  Library.  Talked  of  Madame  de  Stael, 
Finch,  etc. 

Returned  home.  Found  I  was  in  the  house  of  the 
Capponis,  Pontelli  having  the  lower  storey. 

November  10. — Up  at  9.  Dressed  in  black  silk  etc., 
the  housekeeper  going  to  mass  ;  and,  Pontelli  appar- 
ently not  being  willing  that  I  should  accompany  her, 
I  went  out  a  little  after,  and  went  to  the  same  church, 
where  I  spoke  with  her.  Looked  at  the  church  ;  and 
then  went  to  San  Lorenzo,  Santo  Spirito  [Santa 
Croce],^  where  I  saw  the  tomb  of  Galileo,  Machiavelli, 
Alfieri,  Cosmo  de*  Medici,  etc. 

Returned,  and  went  with  a  letter  from  de  Breme 
to  the  Countess  of  Albany.  Found  there  several. 
Presented  my  letter :  "  Very  like  your  father." 

[The  Countess  of  Albany,  it  need  hardly  be  said, 
was  the  widow  of  Prince  Charles  Edward  Stuart, 
the  "Young  Pretender."  Born  in  1752,  Princess  of 
Stolberg-Gedern,  she  married  the  Prince  in  1772. 
Being  much  ill-treated  by  him,  she  left  him,  and 
maintained  a  practically  conjugal  relation  with  Conte 

1  The  name  of  Santa  Croce  is  not  in  the  MS. :  but  it  ought 
to  be,  as  this  is  the  church  containing  the  sepulchral  monuments 
of  Galileo,  etc. 


Vittorio  Alfieri,  the  famous  dramatic  poet:  they 
could  have  married  after  a  while,  but  no  nuptial 
ceremony  took  place.  Alfieri  died  in  1803,  ^^^  the 
Countess  then  became  very  intimate  with  a  French 
painter,  much  younger  than  herself,  named  Fabre. 
She  died  in  Florence  in  January  1824.  If  Dr.  Polidori 
had  been  a  Jacobite,  he  would  have  held  that,  in 
waiting  upon  the  Countess  of  Albany,  he  w^as  in 
the  presence  of  the  Queen  Dowager  of  the  United 
Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland.  It  will  be 
observed  that  the  Countess  told  Polidori  that  he  was 
"very  like  his  father."  The  latter  had,  from  1787  to 
1789,  been  secretary  to  the  Conte  Alfieri,  and  had 
known  the  Countess  in  Colmar  and  Paris.  In  one 
of  his  privately  printed  books  he  has  left  on  record 
a  little  anecdote  of  the  royal  dame,  which,  trifling  as 
it  is,  may  find  a  place  here.  "  While  the  Conte 
Alfieri  was  slowly  recovering  health  I  was  invited 
to  pass  the  evenings  with  him  and  the  Countess,  so 
that  on  various  occasions  I  ^/ui  terzo  tra  cotanto 
senno!  ^  But  this  honour  did  not  last  long.  For 
one  time  when  I  was  with  them  the  lady  turned  her 
eyes  on  me,  and  asked  Alfieri  why  my  thighs  were 
rounded  while  his  were  flat.  *  Stuff  and  nonsense,' 
he  replied,  wrinkling  his  nose,  and  he  passed  on  to 

1  "  Was  third  amid  so  much  intellect."    The  phrase  is  adapted 
from  a  line  in  Dante's  Inferno. 


some  different  talk.  From  that  time  I  no  more  had 
the  honour  of  being  one  of  the  exalted  party  ;  neither 
could  I  complain  of  this,  for  I  myself  felt  that  that 
question  had  been  unseemly,  and  more  in  character 
for  a  drab  than  for  a  discreet  and  modest  lady."] 

Conversation  became  general.  Republics  being 
brought  upon  the  tapis,  I  took  to  defending  them, 
especially  against  a  gentleman  near  me.  After  some 
time  he  went,  and  I  gathered  he  was  brother  to  the 
King  of  Prussia. 

Took  my  leave,  and  came  to  dinner,  after  going  to 
the  caffe  to  wait  for  Pontelli.  Rain  hindered  him 
from  keeping  his  appointment,  so  that  I  went  at  last 
alone  to  San  Gallo,  he  having  the  custom  of  staying 
the  Sundays  only  in  town.  Was  presented  by  him 
to  Lecchini,  the  Inspector  of  Police,  who  recognized 
me  as  a  Tuscan,  and  the  domiciliary  communication 
was  made  out  as  such. 

November  11. — Tried  to  stay  at  home.  Forced  by 
Pontelli's  long-in-vain  repeated  hints  to  go  out ; 
jealous  of  his  young  housekeeper,  though  she  is 
hardly  worth  it.  Roamed  about,  dined,  and  went 
to  bed. 

November  12. — Same.  Dined  with  him  at  a 

November  13. — Got  up  at  7  ;  tired  of  Pontelli,  and 
set  off  for  Arezzo,  with   a  shirt  in  my  pocket  and 


with  my  dog.  When  at  Incisa  it  began  to  rain  ; 
walked  on  through  Feline,  Monte  Varchi,  to  Arezzo. 
Thunder  and  lightning  excessive,  with  violent  rain. 
I  was  at  last  so  numbed  that  when  roused  I  seemed 
to  be  wakened  ;  my  dog  could  not  stand  it,  but  at 
7  miles  from  Arezzo  fell.  I  did  not  perceive  it,  but 
walked  on.  Arrived  at  8,  having  walked  45  miles 
in  12  hours,  having  stopped  once  at  Incisa  to  eat 
and  rest.  Found  my  uncle's  house ;  knocked.  The 
servant,  hearing  I  was  his  nephew,  flew  up-stairs,  and 
I  met  a  tall,  stout,  slovenly  woman,  my  aunt.  On 
the  second  storey,  where  they  lodged,  they  made  a 
fire.  I  changed  my  things  for  my  uncle's,  and  while 
changing  he  arrived — a  tall,  stout,  handsome,  mild- 
looking  man.  Put  myself  to  bed  ;  ate,  and  they  left 
me  to  sleep. 

[This  uncle,  Luigi  Polidori,  was  a  physician,  and 
had  a  considerable  reputation  for  the  cure  of  the 
local  typhoid  fever  (tifo).] 

November  14. — Found  myself  well ;  no  cold,  only 
my  left  groin  stiff  from  a  wound  in  my  foot.  Saw 
my  two  cousins,  Pippo  and  Teresa ;  put  myself  to 
study.  After  6  went  with  my  uncle  to  Signor  Gori, 
where  I  heard  music.  Four  or  five  girls  wanting 
husbands,  two  priests,  whitewashed  walls,  and  several 
young  men,  were  the  entertainment. 

While  at  Arezzo,  my  life  was  quiet  enough ;  study 


till  I  went  out  at  6,  when  I  went  to  play  at  cards  and 
talk  at  Signor  Gori's.  Saw  the  prisons.  One  of  the 
descendants  of  a  true  Lombard  family  walking  about 
in  a  dirty  sailor-looking  jacket.  Signora  Onesti  and 
daughter  the  most  abominable  scandal-talkers  I  ever 
heard,  though  she  was  a  Pitti.  Library  always  shut. 
The  School  of  Ignatius  a  fine  building.  Churches 
fine :  the  Chapel  of  St.  Mary,  the  Cathedral  with  the 
basso-rilievo  altars,  the  church  with  the  altar  painted 
by  Vasari,  etc. — I  recovered  my  dog. 

November  21. — Set  off  to  return  to  Florence  with 
half-a-scudo  in  my  pocket ;  having  refused  to  accept 
from  my  uncle,  not  being  wiUing  to  let  him  know 
how  it  stood.  Frost  on  the  ground  :  hurt  my  foot. 
Lost  my  dog  again  at  Montesarchi.  At  Feline  got 
into  a  carriage,  not  being  able  to  do  more  on  account 
of  my  foot.  Met  a  physician,  a  cavaliere  and  his 
wife.     Arrived  at  7  ;  Pontelli  lent  me  a  scudo  to  pay. 

November  22,  23, 24. — Stayed  at  Pontelli's  on  account 
of  my  foot,  though  Pontelli  tried  to  send  me  out 
under  pretence  that  I  should  see  the  town.  But,  not 
being  able,  he  stayed  at  home  till  6,  when  he  told  me 
I  had  better  go  to  bed — which  I  generally  did  to  quiet 
him.     No  letters  according  to  servant. 

November  25. — Tired  of  Pontelli.  That  I  might  go 
to  Pisa,  I  issued  out  intending  to  sell  my  watch-chain  ; 
but  as  a  last  chance  looked  at  the  Post  Office,  and 


found  two  letters  from  Lloyd,  who,  as  soon  as  he  had 
received  my  letter,  set  off  from  Venice  to  see  me. 
On  the  road  he  lost  his  purse  with  36  louis,  and, 
having  no  letters  at  Florence,  he  could  only  give  me 
20  scudi.  Received  me  with  great  kindness,  and 
assured  me  that,  while  he  had  money,  I  should  never 
want.  Dined  with  him  and  Somers.  They  advised 
me  to  settle  in  Florence  as  physician  to  the  English. 
I  however  determined  to  see  Vacca  first ;  wished  him 
good-bye,  as  he  was  obliged  to  go  to  Rome  for  money. 

[There  were  two  brothers  named  Vacca,  or  Vacca 
Berlinghieri,  who  had  been  known  to  Gaetano  Polidori 
in  Pisa  before  he  left  Italy  with  Alfieri.  Gaetano 
(who  was  a  native  of  Bientlna  near  Pisa,  his  family 
belonging  chiefly  to  Pontedera)  also  stayed  in  the 
same  house  with  the  Vacccis  in  Paris  after  leaving 
his  secretaryship  with  the  Count.  They  were  then 
both  medical  students.  One  of  them,  Leopoldo — 
who  had  been  intimate  with  Napoleon  while  the  latter 
was  in  the  Military  College — abandoned  medicine, 
and  served  under  the  French  empire  in  Spain,  dying 
not  many  years  afterwards.  The  other  brother, 
Andrea,  attained  an  European  reputation  in  medicine, 
and  especially  surgery:  Shelley,  when  in  Pisa,  con- 
sulted him  more  than  once.] 

November  26. — Went  to  seek  the  Naviglio,  to  go 
by  water   to  Pisa.     At   going  out,   stopped   by  the 

PISA  205 

gate-officer,  who,  on  hearing  me  enquire  where  the 
boat  was,  would  not  let  me  pass  without  proofs  of 
my  being  originario  Toscano ;  so  I  went  to  Lecchini, 
and  got  him  to  write  me  a  declaration.  The  boat 
could  not  set  off  to-day,  so  returned  to  Pontelli  and 
went  to  bed. 

November  27. — At  7  set  off  in  the  boat  on  the 
Arno  for  Pisa. 

November  29,  30,  December  i. — Stayed  in  my  room, 
copying  Osteologia  of  my  grandfather. 

[This  Osteologia  is  a  treatise  on  osteology  written 
in  verse — octave  stanzas.  The  author  was  Agostino 
Ansano  Polidori,  by  profession  a  surgeon,  born  in 
1 7 14  and  deceased  in  1778.  In  1847  Gaetano  Polidori 
printed  this  poem  at  his  private  press.  He  had  pre- 
viously made  a  MS.  copy  of  it,  with  an  introduction 
giving  a  few  family-particulars.  One  statement  made 
in  this  introduction  is  that  the  mother  of  Agostino 
was  a  Florentine  lady  named  Folchi — "  perhaps  "  (so 
says  Gaetano  Polidori)  *'  descended  from  an  English 
family  domiciled  in  Florence,  which  may  have  changed 
its  name  Folks  into  Folchi."] 

December  2. — Up  at  9  ;  went  to  see  Vacca ;  still  at 
hospital.  While  waiting  for  him,  saw  an  Austrian 
colonel,  who,  in  the  excess  of  his  gratitude  to  Vaccci, 
called  him  the  Dio  della  Medicina.  Vacca  expressed 
great  joy  to  see  me  ;  told  me  to  make  his  house  my 


own ;  to  dine  there  when  I  chose,  and  often  ;  to 
begin  to-day ;  not  to  use  ceremony.  Left  me,  and  I 
returned  home;  went  to  dine  at  V[acca]'s.  Intro- 
duced me  to  his  wife,  a  pleasing  pretty  French- 
woman, the  former  wife  of  his  brother ;  he  had  just 
obtained  the  Pope's  dispensation  to  marry  her.  Spent 
the  evening  there. 

December  3,  4,  to  21. — Went  to  the  hospital  in  the 
mornings  when  Vacca  was  not  ill;  three  or  four 
times  to  the  Library.  Studied  in  the  mornings  ;  went 
to  dine  either  at  Vacca's  or  at  eating-house ;  always 
evenings  at  Vacca's.  Corsi,  a  well-informed  lawyer, 
cav[alier]  serv[ente]  to  V[acca  ?] ;  ^  Mario  ex  cav[alier] 
serv[ente].  Cecco  Castanelli,  Pachiani,  etc. ;  chess 
with  the  English ;  with  Vacca.  For  the  various 
information  I  obtained  there  see  notes. 

[The  Pachiani  (or  Pacchiani)  here  mentioned  must 
certainly  be  the  same  Abate  Pachiani  who  in  1820 
introduced  Shelley  to  the  Contessina  Emilia  Viviani, 
to  whom  the  poet  dedicated  his  Epipsychidion. 
Medwin,  in  his  Life  of  Shelley,  a  book  which  does  not 
now  obtain  many  readers,  gives  a  lively  but  partly 
very  unfavourable  account  of  Pachiani :  I  append  a  few 
extracts  from  it,  more  as  being  relevant  to  Shelley 
than  to  Polidori.  "  Pachiani  was  about  fifty  years  of 
age,  somewhat  above  the  common  height,  with  a 
^  Rather  (it  must  be  understood)  to  Signora  Vacck. 

PISA  207 

figure  bony  and  angular.  His  face  was  dark  as  that 
of  a  Moor.  During  the  reign  of  Austrian  despotism 
he  was  admirably  calculated  for  a  spy.  As  to  his 
religion,  it  was  about  on  a  par  with  that  of  I'Abate 
Casti.  At  Pisa,  il  Signore  Professore  was  the  title 
by  which  he  was  generally  known.  He  lost  [his 
professorship]  by  an  irresistible  bon  mot.  During  one 
of  his  midnight  orgies,  which  he  was  in  the  habit  of 
celebrating  with  some  of  the  most  dissolute  of  the 
students,  he  was  interrogated,  in  the  darkness,  by  the 
patrole  in  the  streets  of  Pisa  as  to  who  and  what  he 
was, — to  which  questioning  he  gave  the  following 
reply :  *  Son  un  uomo  pubblico,  in  una  strada  pubblica, 
con  una  donna  pubblica.'  His  epigrams  wtx^sanglants, 
and  he  gave  sobriquets  the  most  happy  for  those 
who  offended  him.  His  talent  was  conversation — a 
conversation  full  of  repartee  and  sparkling  with  wit ; 
and  his  information  (he  was  a  man  of  profound 
erudition,  vast  memory,  and  first-rate  talent)  made 
him  almost  oracular.  He  was  a  mezzano,  cicerone, 
conoscitore,  dilettante,  and  I  might  add  ruffiano."^] 
December  21. — Went  in  the  evening  to  the  Countess 
Mastrani's.  Ices,  iced  people,  prepared  poetry,  music. 
Went  to  the  theatre,  in  the  days  past,  several  times. 
Saw  Goldoni's  BugiardOy  with  Harlequin  etc. 

^  Rufifiano  does  not  correspond  to  our  word  "  ruffian,"  but  to 
"  pimp  "  or  "  go-between." 


December  22. — As  usual. 

December  23. — Same. 

December  24. — Ditto. 

December  25. — Christmas-day.  Walked  along  Arno. 
Spent  the  evening  and  dined  at  Vacca's. 

December  26. — Up  at  7.  Went  with  Vacca  to 
Leghorn,  a  neat,  regular,  well-built  town.  The 
first  thing  I  went  in  search  of  was  the  sea,  and  I 
stood  gazing  some  time  on  the  waves.  The  Public 
Place  and  Strada  Maestra  fine.  Saw  Vescali's 
collection  of  alabasters.  Returned  by  3.  Dined 
with  Vacca.  Went  to  the  theatre  with  Mrs.  Vacca, 
who  introduced  me  to  Signora  Bettina  Franciuoli. 

December  27. — As  usual.  Up  at  4 — dined  at  Vacca's 
— went  to  theatre,  and  to  B.'s  box. 

December  28. — Went  to  hear  nella  Chiesa  dei 
Cavalieri  (after  a  ride  with  Mrs.  Vacca)  Nicolini  play 
a  sonata  upon  the  organ,  which  is  perhaps  the  finest 
in  Italy.  There  were  the  Prince  Villafranca,  the 
Countess  Castelfiel,  Princess  della  Pace,  and  other 
nobles.     At  Vacca's  and  theatre. 

December  29. — Up  at  3 J.  Dined  at  Vacca's: 
theatre.     English  etc.  as  usual. 

December  30. — Up  at  i.  Reading  Sismondi.  Got 
up — went  to  Vacca  to  dine.  After  English,  to  the 
Casa  Mastrani :  all  evening  with  Sofia.  The  others 
— Biribro,  Dionigi. 


[According  to  a  letter  from  Lord  Byron,  April  11, 
181 7,  Dr.  Polidori  had  at  least  three  patients  at  Pisa 
— Francis  Horner,  a  child  of  Thomas  Hope,  and 
Francis  North,  Lord  Guilford.  They  all  died — 
which  may  or  may  not  have  been  partly  the  Doctor's 

With  this  entry  we  come  to  the  end  of  Dr. 
Polidori's  Diary — although  (as  I  have  before  intimated) 
not  by  any  means  to  the  end  of  his  sojourn  in  Italy. 
He  saw  Byron  again  in  April  18 17  in  Venice: 
Shelley,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge,  he  never 

I  add  here  two  letters  which  Polidori  wrote  to  his 
sister  Frances  (my  mother,  then  a  girl  of  only  sixteen), 
and  two  to  his  father.  The  first  letter  was  written 
soon  after  beginning  the  journey  with  Byron ;  the 
last  not  long  after  the  date  of  parting  from  him.  I 
also  add  a  letter  sent  to  Mr.  Hobhouse  during 
Polidori's  sojourn  with  Byron,  and  a  note,  of  much 
later  date,  written  by  Mrs.  Shelley  to  my  father, 
Gabriele  Rossetti. 

The  letter  to  Mr.  Hobhouse,  it  will  be  observed, 
goes  over  some  of  the  same  details  which  appear  in 
the  Diary.  This  letter  has  been  copied  by  me  from 
the  Broughton  Papers,  in  the  Manuscript  Department 
of  the  British  Museum  (Add.  MSS.  36456  to  36483)^ 
I  did  my  best  to  trace  whether  these  papers  contain 


anything  else  relating  to  Polidori,  and  I  do  not  think 
they  do.  In  fact,  the  affairs  of  Lord  Byron,  and  the 
very  name  of  him,  scarcely  figure  in  those  Broughton 
Papers  at  all :  for  instance,  I  could  not  find  anything 
relating  to  his  death. 

John  Polidori  to  Frances  Polidori. 

My  dear  Fanny, 

I  shall  see  Waterloo  in  a  day  or  two — don't 
you  wish  to  be  with  me  ?  but  there  are  many  more 
things  that  I  have  seen  which  would  have  given  you 
as  much  pleasure.  Shakespear's  Cliff  at  Dover,  the 
French  coast,  the  phosphorescent  sea,  Bruges,  Ghent, 
Antwerp,  and  Brussels,  have  all  got  more  than  is  in 
any  of  Feinaigh's  plates  to  excite  the  memory  to 
bring  forth  its  hidden  stores.  The  people  amongst 
whom  we  are  at  present  dwelling  is  one  that  has 
much  distinguished  itself  in  the  noblest  career,  the 
race  for  liberty ;  but  that  tends  little  to  the  ennobling 
of  a  people  without  the  sun  of  literature  also  deigns 
to  shine  upon  them. 

It  was  not  the  warlike  deeds,  the  noble  actions,  of 
the  Greeks  and  Romans  or  modern  Italians,  that  has 
rescued  these  names  from  the  effacing  daub  of  obli- 
vion ;  if  it  had  not  been  for  their  poets,  their  his- 
torians, their  philosophers,  their  heroes  would  in  vain 
have  struggled  for  fame.     Their  actions  would  have 


been  recorded  in  the  dusty  legends  of  monks,  and 
consequently  have  been  forgotten,  like  those  of  the 
Belgians,  Carthaginians,  and  others.  How  many  fine 
actions  of  modern  times  will  be  buried  in  oblivion 
from  the  same  want,  and  how  many  merely  secondary 
characters  will  be  handed  down  with  a  halo  round 
their  deeds  reflected  from  the  pages  of  historic  genius  ! 

I  am  very  pleased  with  Lord  Byron.  I  am  with 
him  on  the  footing  of  an  equal,  everything  alike :  at 
present  here  we  have  a  suite  of  rooms  between  us. 
I  have  my  sitting-room  at  one  end,  he  at  the  other. 
He  has  not  shown  any  passion  ;  though  we  have 
had  nothing  but  a  series  of  mishaps  that  have  put  me 
out  of  temper  though  they  have  not  ruffled  his.  The 
carriage,  the  new  carriage,  has  had  three  stoppages. 
We  are  at  present  at  Brussels  merely  to  have  the 
carriage-part  well  looked  at  and  repaired. 

The  country  till  here  has  been  one  continued  flat  ; 
and,  except  within  this  neighbourhood,  we  have  not 
seen  a  rising  ground  on  which  to  feast  our  eyes. 
Long  avenues  paved  in  the  middle  form  the  continued 
appearance  of  our  roads.  The  towns  are  magnificently 
old,  such  as  England  cannot  rival,  and  the  state  of 
cultivation  is  much  greater  than  in  England  :  indeed 
we  have  not  seen  a  weed  or  a  foot  of  waste  ground 
all  our  way.  The  people  in  the  country  show  no 
misery  ;  the  cottages  comfortable,  whitewashed,  large- 



windowed,  shining  with  brass  utensils  internally,  and 
only  having  as  many  heaps  of  dirt  as  there  are  in- 
habitants— who  certainly  throw  away  all  their  clean- 
liness upon  the  house,  fields,  roads,  and  windows. 
But  I  will  not  fill  my  letter  with  this,  as  some  time 
you  will  either  see  my  Journal  in  writing  or  print — 
Murray  having  offered  me  500  guineas  for  it  through 
Lord  Byron.  L[ord]  B[yron]  is  going  to  give  me  the 
manuscript,  when  done  printing,  of  his  new  cantos  of 
Childe  Harold} 

Have  you  seen  Mrs.  Soane  and  Mr.  S[oane]  ?  how 
are  they?  If  you  see  them,  remember  me  to  her  and 
him.  I  shall  write  when  I  have  seen  the  seat  of  his 
hero's  glory,  mine's  disgrace ;  no,  not  disgrace — 
misfortune.     See  Mrs.  S[oane],  and  write  how  she  is. 

How  are  you  all  at  home  }  Papa,  Mamma,  Meggy 
(have  you  heard  from  her?),  Charlotte,  Bob,  Henry, 
Eliza,  and  Mr.  Deagostini.  Remember  me  to  all,  and 
to  all  who  enquire  about  me  not  merely  from  curiosity 
— telling  me  in  your  next  whether  they  exceed  the 
number  o.  I  am  very  well,  and  wrote  Mamma  from 

I  remain,  my  dear  Fanny, 

Your  affect.  Brother, 


Brussels,  May  2,  18 16. 

1  No  doubt  this  intention  was  not  carried  into  effect. 


Write  to  me — Dr.  Polidori,  a  Geneve,  poste  restante, 
— and  soon,  as  I  shall  be  there  in  1 2  days. 

To  John  Hobhouse,  Whitton  Park, 


Coblentz,  May  11,  1816. 

Dear  Sir, 

As  we  are  at  last  some  way  on  our 
journey,  I  take  a  sheet  of  paper  up,  in  despair  of 
filling  it,  to  tell  you  we  are  both  well  and  hearty. 
Lord  Byron's  health  is  greatly  improved,  his  stomach 
returning  rapidly  to  its  natural  state.  Exercise  and 
peace  of  mind,  making  great  advances  towards  the 
amendment  of  his  corps  delabre^  leave  little  for 
medicine  to  patch  up.  His  spirits,  I  think,  are  also 
much  improved.  He  blithely  carols  through  the  day, 
*  Here's  to  you,  Tom  Brown ' :  and,  when  he  has 
done,  says,  *  That's  as  well  as  Hobhouse  does  it.' 
You  and  his  other  friend,  Scrope  Davies,  form  a  great 
subject  of  conversation. 

God  !  here  I  am  at  the  end  of  all  my  thoughts. 
Oh  no !  Waterloo  was  ridden  over  by  my  Lord  on  a 
Cossack  horse,  accompanied  by  myself  on  a  Flemish 
steed ;  Lord  Byron  singing  Turkish  or  Arnaout 
riding-tunes,  and  your  h[umble]  s[ervant]  listening. 
We  had  a  very  good  day  of  it.  Lord  Byron  visited 
Howard's   (I    think,    Colonel)   burying-place    twice. 


We  have  had  two  days  by  preeminence  in  our 
tour — to-day  and  Waterloo.  To-day  we  came  from 
Bonn  hither  through  the  finest  scenes  I  ever  saw, 
modern  and  ancient;  the  13th  and  i8th  century 
forming  an  olla  podrida  with  the  bases  given  in  the 
year  i.  Towers  and  towns  and  castles  and  cots  were 
sprinkled  on  the  side  of  a  .  .  .  But  here  I  am  on 
poetic  stilts,  cut  short  for  prose  ones. 

They  boast — the  Ministerialists  and  others — of 
ours  being  the  happy  land.  I  should  like  to  carry 
John  Bull  to  Flanders  and  the  Rhine  :  happiness, 
content,  cleanliness  (here  and  there),  husbandry, 
plenty  without  luxury,  are  here  bestowed  on  all. 
War  has  had  no  effect  upon  the  fields  ;  and  even  at 
Waterloo  no  one  (except  for  the  glittering  button 
or  less  brilliant  cuirass  in  beggar's  hand)  would 
imagine  two  such  myriaded  armies  had  met  there. 
No  sulkiness  is  seen  upon  the  face  here,  and  no  impu- 
dence. On  the  Rhine  and  in  Flanders  there  are 
hardly  any  beggars.  To-day  we  had  nosegays  given 
us  by  little  girls  for  centimes.  But  the  other  day, 
coming  to  Battice,  we  met  the  best  beggars :  three 
little  girls,  pretty  though  not  well  dressed,  ran 
along  our  carriage,  crying  out — "  Donnez-nous  un 
sou.  Monsieur  le  G6n6ral  en  chef";  and  another, 
"  Chef  de  bataillon."  Having  given  these  some,  a 
boy  followed,  pulling  faces  comic  enough  to  make 


such  grave  dons  laugh,  and  crying  out,  "Vivent 
Messieurs  les  Rois  des  Hanoveriens — donnez-moi 
un  sou." 

As  I  fear  I  have  tried  your  eyes,  and  lost  my 
pains  after  all  on  account  of  the  illegibility  of  my 
accursed  pen's  scratches,  I  must  end — assuring  you 
at  the  same  time  I  am  with  esteem 

Yours  etc., 


We  count  upon  being  at  Geneva  in  ten  days  at 
best.  Excuse  the  bad  writing  etc.,  for  I  am  in  a 
fever  of  digestion  after  my  ride. — J.  P. 

To  Gaetano  Polidori. 

September  20,  1816. 

My  dear  Father, 

You  judged  right  with  regard  to  my 
writing.  I  had  written  twice  since  your  letter 
announcing  The  Pamphleteer^  and  was  anxiously 
waiting  yours.  Your  letter  gave  me  pleasure ; 
and  I  was  indeed  in  want  of  some  just  then,  for 
I  was  in  agitation  for  my  parting  from  Lord 
Byron.  We  have  parted,  finding  that  our  tempers 
did  not  agree.  He  proposed  it,  and  it  was  settled. 
There  was  no  immediate  cause,  but  a  continued 
series  of  slight  quarrels.     I  believe  the  fault,  if  any. 


has  been  on  my  part ;  I  am  not  accustomed  to  have 
a  master,  and  therefore  my  conduct  was  not  free  and 
easy.  I  found  on  settling  accounts  that  I  had  70 
napoleons  ;  I  therefore  determined  to  walk  over 
Italy,  and  (seeing  the  medical  establishments)  see  if 
there  proves  a  good  opportunity  to  settle  myself,  so 
that  I  hope  I  am  still  off  your  hands  for  nine 
months :  perhaps  Lady  Westmorland,  who  is  at 
Rome,  is  desirous  of  having  an  English  physician 
for  longer,  I  having  a  letter  for  her  from  Mme.  de 
Stael.  I  shall  write  to-day  to  Vacca  and  Zio  [uncle] 
for  letters  to  Milan  to  physicians,  in  your  name;  and 
at  present,  till  I  think  they  and  my  trunks  can  have 
arrived,  will  wander  amongst  the  Alps, — in  which 
course  I  am  now  at  Thun,  almost  in  the  centre.  I 
have  seen  Mont  Blanc  and  its  glaciers,  and  will  see 
the  Jungfrau,  Grindelwald,  and  Grimsel.  Then  I 
will  go  by  the  Simplon  to  Milan,  whither  direct  to 
me  poste-restante,  only  putting  my  Giovanni  etc. 
names  in  full,  as  there  are  Polidoris  there.^  I  am 
in  good  health  and  spirits ;  I  hope  this  won't  hurt 
yours,  for  assure  yourself  I  will  do  all  I  can  not 
to  allow  you  to  feel  any  inconvenience  on  my 

Remember  me  to  my  mother,  who   I   know  will 

*  These  Polidoris  were  not  (so  far  as  I  know)  members  of  the 
same  family  as  John  Polidori. 


feel  deeply  this  disappointment ;  to  Mary,^  Fanny, 
and  Charlotte,  to  Signor  Deagostini  and  Signor  De 
Ocheda,  and  to  all. 

If  you  could  get  me  letters  of  introduction,  they 
would  be  of  great  use.  In  the  meanwhile,  my  dear 
father,  believe  me 

Your  affectionate  son, 

John  Polidori. 

John  Polidori  to  Gaetano  Polidori— 

Arezzo,  November  14,  1816. 

Dear  Father, 

I  fear  you  must  be  in  much  anxiety  at  not 
having  heard  from  me  for  so  long  ;  but  the  reason 
was  that  I  did  not  wish  to  write  before  having  seen 
my  uncle — to  whom  I  went  the  day  before  yesterday, 
and  who  received  me  with  great  affection  and  pleasure. 
I  wrote  to  him  from  Thun.  Thence  I  went  to 
Grindelwald  and  Lauterbrunner ;  thence  to  Inter- 
lachen,  and,  by  the  Lake  of  Brientz,  to  Meyringen  ;  by 
the  Grimsel  in  the  Valais  to  Obergasteln  ;  thence  to 
Brieg ;  and  then  by  the  Simplon  down  to  Farinoli 
in  the  Borromean  Islands.  Thence  I  embarked  to 
Sestri  Calende  ;  thence  to  Milan — where,  meeting  the 

*  This  was  Dr.  Polidori's  elder  sister,  Maria  Margaret,  who 
in  my  time  was  invariably  called  "  Margaret "  in  the  family. 


poet  Monti,  Lord  Byron,  Monsignor  de  Breme,  and 
others  of  my  acquaintance,  I  remained  some  weeks. 
Thence  I  went  to  Florence,  by  Bologna,  Modena, 
Parma,  and  Piacenza,  and  crossing  the  Apennines.  In 
Florence  I  stayed  two  days,  and  saw  Cavalier 
Pontelli,  Abate  Fontani,  Dr.  FVosini,  and  others. 
Thence  I  went  on  foot  to  Arezzo,  where  I  found  my 
uncle,  my  aunt,  Pippo,  and  Teresa,  all  well ;  and  they 
received  me  with  great  cordiality  into  their  house, 
where  I  now  am. 

Seeing,  by  your  letter  to  my  uncle,  in  how  much 
trouble  you  are  on  my  account,  I  have  determined, 
after  learning  whether  Lady  Westmorland  will  employ 
me  or  no — if  yes,  to  go  to  Rome ;  if  no,  to  go  straight 
from  Leghorn  to  London,  to  the  bosom  of  my  family. 
I  shall  soon  hear  from  Lady  Westmorland,  as  Lady 
Jersey  undertook,  at  the  instance  of  Monsignor  de 
Breme,  to  ask  her  mother  whether  she  wants  me  or 
not,  and  she  is  now  in  Florence,  en  route  for  Rome. 
In  case  she  should  tell  me  yes,  I  shall  at  once  go  to 
Rome  :  but  meanwhile  I  don't  proceed  any  farther 
than  Arezzo.  If  she  says  no,  I  shall  be  off  to  Leghorn, 
and  return  to  London. 

I  wish  that  in  your  next  letter  you  would  send  me 
enough  money,  in  a  bill  on  Florence,  for  paying  the 
passage  from  Leghorn  to  London,  for  the  chance  of 
my  not  having  enough  remaining.  .  .  . 


When  I  see  you  again  I  shall  have  much  to  tell  you 
about,  but  will  not  put  it  into  a  letter.  Suffice  it  that 
I  have  found  that  what  you  told  me  about  Italy  is 
but  too  true.     I  am  in  good  health.  .  .  . 

Your  affectionate  son, 

John  Polidori. 

[To  this  letter  the  uncle  Luigi  Polidori  added 
something.  One  point  regarding  Lord  Byron  is  of  a 
certain  interest.] 

I  became  indignant  at  some  references  [made  by 
John  Polidori]  to  the  strange  conduct  of  that  Lord 
with  whom  he  was  travelling  :  but  he  kept  his  temper 
well — I  envy  him  for  that.  All  these  people  are  hard  : 
Saevus  enim  ferme  sensus  communis  in  ilia  fortuna. 
—Patience ! 

[My  father,  about  the  date  of  this  ensuing  letter,  met 
Mrs.  Shelley  several  times,  and  he  liked  her  well.  He 
did  not  think  her  good-looking :  indeed  I  have  heard 
him  say  "  Era  brutta  "  (she  was  ugly). — The  letter  is 
written  in  fairly  idiomatic,  but  by  no  means  faultless, 
Italian. — I  am  not  aware  whether  Gaetano  Polidori 
supplied  Mrs.  Shelley  with  information,  such  as  she 
asked  for,  for  her  Biography  of  Alfieri :  perhaps  a 
minute  inspection  of  the  book  might  show. — Cleo- 
patra, acted  in  1775,  was  Alfieri's  first  attempt  at 


Rsiirovr,  j4prt7  20,  iS^$. 

Courteous  Signor  Rossetti, 

Thank  you  so  much  for  your  amiable  reply, 
and  the  interest  you  show  in  the  undertaking  of  a 
pen  but  too  unworthy  of  those  great  names  which  give 
so  much  lustre  to  your  country.  Meanwhile  I  am 
about  to  make  a  farther  request :  but  am  afraid  of 
showing  myself  troublesome,  and  beg  you  to  tell  me 
your  opinion  sincerely.  I  should  not  like  to  seem  to 
take  impertinent  liberties ;  and,  if  my  idea  appears 
to  you  impracticable,  don't  say  anything  about  it 
to  any  one. 

I  am  informed  that  your  Father-in-law  the  cele- 
brated Polidori  can  relate  many  interesting  circum- 
stances regarding  Alfieri.  The  Life  which  1  am  writing 
will  be  printed  in  Dr.  Lardner's  Cyclopcedia :  therefore 
it  is  very  short,  running  perhaps  to  70  pages — not 
more.  Thus,  if  I  could  introduce  some  details  not  yet 
known  but  worthy  of  publication,  I  should  be  very 
pleased  indeed.  I  don't  know  whether  Polidori  would 
be  willing  to  give  me  such  details.  For  example, 
I  should  like  to  know  whether  Alfieri  was  really  so 
melancholy  and  taciturn  as  is  said  by  Sir  John 
Hobhouse  in  his  work,  Illustrations  to  the  Fourth  Canto 
of  Childe  Harold ;  whether  he  gave  signs  of  attach- 
ment  to   his   friends,  and   whether  he  was   warmly 


loved  by  them  in  return.  Some  anecdotes  would  be 
welcomed  by  me;  also  some  information  about  the 
Countess  of  Albany.  There  is  an  affectation  of 
silence,  as  to  all  that  relates  to  her,  in  whatever 
has  yet  been  written  concerning  Alfieri.  But,  now 
that  she  is  dead,  this  is  no  longer  necessary.  Were 
they  married  ?  If  not,  nothing  need  be  said  about 
it ;  but,  if  they  were,  it  would  be  well  to  affirm  as 

I  shall  be  in  London  next  Sunday,  and  shall  be 
staying  there  several  days.  But  I  am  in  a  quarter 
so  distant  from  yours  (7  Upper  Eaton  Street,  Gros- 
venor  Place)  that  it  would  be  indiscreet  to  ask  for  a 
visit  from  you — and  much  more  indiscreet  to  say 
that,  if  Signor  Polidori  would  visit  me,  he  could 
perhaps  tell  me  some  little  things  more  easily  than 
by  writing.  As  the  Tuscans  say,  "  Lascio  far  a  lei."  ^ 
You  will  do  whatever  is  most  fitting,  and  will  give 
me  a  reply  at  your  convenience. 

Repeating  the  thanks  so  much  due  to  your  kind- 
ness, believe  me 

Your  much  obliged  servant, 

M.  W.  P.  Shelley. 

I  hear  that  Alfieri  was  intimate  with  Guiccioli  of 
Ravenna,  the  latter  being  then  quite   young ;   and 

^  "  I  leave  the  question  to  you." 


they  had  a  joint  idea  and  project  (which  did  not  turn 
out  manageable)  of  establishing  a  national  theatre 
in  Italy.  Possibly  Signor  Polidori  knows  about  this. 
Is  there  any  historical  work  containing  particulars 
about  the  closing  years  of  the  royal  husband  of  the 
Countess  of  Albany  ?  I  don't  know,  and  am  in  the 
dark.  He  (is  it  not  so  ?)  was  the  last  of  the  Stuarts, 
except  his  brother  the  Cardinal  of  York. 

Oh  what  trouble  I  am  giving  you  to  reply !  Really 
I  now  feel  more  than  ashamed  of  it.  But  you  are 
so  kind.  And,  besides,  the  grammar  of  this  letter 
must  be  like  Alfieri's  Cleopatra. 


Agnes E  (drama),  196 
Aix-la-Chapelle,  74 
Albany,  Countess  of,  199-202 
Alfieri,  Count,  200,  219-222 
Andreini,  170 

Adamo,  by,  170 

Antwerp,  46-51,  54,  55 
Arezzo,  202,  218 
Arrow,  Eliza,  31 
Avenches,  93,  94,  96 


Bale,  90,  91 

Battice,  73,  74,  213 

Beauharnais,  Prince  Eugene,  175 

Berger,  31,  108,  no,  135 

Berne,  92 

Beyle,  Henri,  173,  177,  190,  192 

Reminiscences  of  Napoleon, 

by,  177 

Bologna,  194,  195 

Bonn,  80 

Bonnet,  Charles,  97 

Bonstetten,  C.   V.   de,    105,  132, 

137,  147,  148 
Borsieri,  173,  174,  177,  186 

//  Giorno,  by,  177 

Breadalbane,  Lord,  139,  145 
Brelaz,    Madame,    139,    143-146, 

152,  153,  155,  168,  182 
Breme,  Cavalier  de,  171,  173,  177 

de  (or  Brema),  Monsignor, 

139,  147,  170,  172-177,  182, 
183,  187-189,  191,  193,  198, 

Breme,  de  (or  Brema),  Monsignor 

Inuy  by,  176 
Breuss,  Countess,  12,  13,  17,  134, 

141-143,  152 
Bridgens,  R.,  3 

Costumes    of    Italy,    etc.f 

by,  3 

Brieg,  160-163 

Broglie,  Due  Victor  de,  137,  138 

Duchesse  Victor  de,  137-9, 


Bruges,  35 

Brussels,  57-59,  61,  68,  211 

Bubna,  173,  187-189,  193 

Junior,  189 

Byron,  Lady,  26 

Lord,   I,  7,   8,   II,   12,    15, 

25,  28,  33,  40,  44,  51-53,  62, 
67,  68,  70,  71,  74,  88,  89, 
97-105,  107,  III,  112,  1 17-120, 
123-126,  128,  132,  133,  135- 
140,  146,  147,  152,  158,  170, 
173,  174,  179-181,  186-188, 
190-193,  209-211,  213,  215, 
218,  219 

Childe  Harold,  by,  25, 

66,  67,  71,  80,  83,  84,  87,  94, 
95,  212 

ChurchilVs  Grave,  by, 


Letters  and  Journals  of, 

loi,  133 

The    Vampyre   (frag- 
ment), by,  14-17,   125 

To  Princess  Charlott 

by,  112 




Caluro,  176,  177 
Campagne  Chapuis,  1 1 7 
Canterbury,  26 
Caravella,  140 
Carlsruhe,  88,  90 
Carnot,  46,  55 
Castan,  136 
Casti,  Abate,  70 

Novel  le  by,  70,  71 

Chamounix,  151 

Charles  Edward,  Prince,  199,  222 

Charles  V,  37,  90 

Chillon,  153 

Churchill,  Rev.  Charles,  27,  30 

Clairmont,    Clare,    99-103,    107, 

108,  124-126,  133-135 
Clemann,  Harriet,  146 

Madame,  139,  143,  146 

Coblentz,  83,  85 

Colbum    Henry,  13,  14,  18,  20 
Coleridge,  S.  T.,  113 

Christabel,  by,  126,  128,  129 

Fire,  Famine,  and  Slaughter, 

by,  113,  I  IS 
Cologne,  76-80 
Cologny,  98 

Conjnigham,  Lord,  149,  150 
Copeland,  Thomas,  7 
Coppet,  141 
Corsi,  206 

Courier,  The,  23,  112 
Cowper,  Lord,  173,  174 
Curran,  J.  P.,  117 

Dacosta,  69 

Davies,  Scrope  B.,  25,  151,  152, 

Deagostini,  John  A.,  6,  7 
Domo  d'Ossola,  165 
Dover,  27,  31 

Dowden,  Professor,  118 

■  Life  of  Shelley,  by,  118,  119, 

124-126,  132 
Drachenfels,  the,  81 
Dumont,  Etienne,  104,  139,  147 


Ehrenbreitstein,  85 
Einard,  Madame,  105,  106 
Evans,  Rev.  Mr.,  145 

Fabre,  200 

Fantasmagoriana,  125 

Finch,  Colonel,  173,  174,  180 

Fletcher,  William,  31 

Florence,  197,  203,  218 

Floris,  Franz,  50 

Angels  and  Devils,  by,  50, 

Folchi,  Signorina,  205 
Francis,  Emperor,  183 
Freiburg  (Baden),  90 

Galilei,  Galileo,  180 
Garnett,  Dr.,  8,  172 

Dictionary     of     National 

Biography,  article  in,  8,  ii 

Gatelier,  Abate,  139,  141 

Madame,  13,  141 

Geneva,  98,  104,  106,  141,  149 

Genthoud,  141 

Ghent,  37-39,  41,42,  48 

Gianni,  179 

Glenorchy,  Lord,  140,  145 

Godwin,  William,  107,  n  3-11 5 


Gordon,  Mrs.,  71 

Pryse  L.,  47,  66,  69-71 

Gori,  202,  203 

Gray,  Thomas,  106,  147,  148 



Grove,  Harriet,  113 
Guasco,  173,  174,  177,  193 
Guiccioli,  Count,  221 
Guilford,  Lord  (Francis),  10,  209 
Guttannen,  138,  139 


Hamilton,  Lady  Dalrymple, 

Helmhoft,  Miss,  80 

Hentsch,  105,  107 

Hervey,  Mrs.,  147 

Hobhouse,  Sir  J.  Cam,  25,  28, 
140,  151,  158,  173,  174,  180, 
186-188,  193,  209,  213,  220 

Heche,  General,  82,  84 

Hogg,  T.  Jefferson,  130 

Homer,  Francis,  209 

Hougoumont,  63-65 

Howard,  Colonel,  64,  66,  213 

Hunt,  Leigh,  131 

Hunter,  Sir  C,  89 

Isella,  164 
Isola  Bella,  166 
Italy,  10 


Jacquet,  Madlle.,  145 
Jersey,  Countess  of,  181,  218 

Earl  of,  173,  174 

Jordaens,  52 

iSV.  Apollonia,  by,  52 

Julia  Alpinula,  94,  95 

Kaft,  78,  79 

Kalf,  77 

Kauflfman,  Angelica,  127 

Keats,  John,  174 

Keswick,  131 

Kinnoul,  Lord,  149 

Kruger,  40 

Judgment  of  Solomon,  by,  40 

Lac,  Chateau  du,  57,  69,  70 

Lake  Leman,  98,  99 

Lausanne,  96 

Lecchini,  197,  201,  205 

Leghorn,  208 

Leigh,  Hon.  Mrs.,  51,  140 

Medora,  140 

Lewis,    Matthew    G.,    125,    140, 

Liege,  72 
Lloyd,   140,  150,   173,   181,   182, 

193,  204 
Locatelli,  Dr.,  173,  181 
Lou  vain,  72 


Malines,  55,  57 
Mannheim,  88 
Marceau,  General,  83-85 
Marschner,  24 

The   Vampyre,    opera,    by, 


Martineau,  Harriett,  3 
Massey,  Junior,  143-145 

Mr.,  144 

Mastrani,  Countess,  207 
Mayence,  86,  87 
Medwin,  Captain,  7 

Conversations  with  Byron, 

by,  7 

Life  of  Shelley,  by,  186  206 

Metsys,  Quintin,  50 

Milan,   167-171,    173,    182,    183, 

190,  193,  217 
Milton,  John,  99,  170 
Modena,  194,  196 
Monti,  Signora,  178 



Monti,   Vincenzo,  1 71-174,    178, 

183,  191,  218 

Homer  translated,  by,  1 78 

Moore,  Thomas,  118 

Life  of  Byron,  by,  118,  123 

Morat,  92-94 

Morning  Chronicle,  The,  13,   14, 

17,  18,  22 
Murat,  King  Joachim,  148 
Murray,  John,  8,  9,  20,  21,  44,  212 

Napoleon  I.,  47,  54,  55,  63-65, 

69,  70,  82,  86,  127,  173,  177, 

National  Portrait  Gallery,  3 
Negri,  Marchese,  173,  174,  178, 

Nelli,  180 
New  Monthly  Magazine,  The,  13, 

IS,  18,  19 
New  Times,  The,  4 
North,  Frederick,  181 
Norwich,  3 

Odier,  Dr.,  118,  119,  133,  151 
Odier,  Madlle.,  122,  132 
Onesti,  Signora,  203 
Ostend,  32,  34 

Pachiani,  Abate,  206,  207 
Peacock,  T.  L.,  131 
Pellico,  Silvio,  191 
Pictet  de  Sergy,  104,  105,  140 
Pisa,  192,  205,  209 
Polidori,  Agostino  A.,  205 
Osteologia,  by,  205 

Charlotte,  11,  32,  103 

Dr.  John  W.,  2 

Cajetafz,   by,    30,   44, 


Polidori,  Dr.  John  W.,  Costumes 

of  Italy,  etc.,  by,  3 
Ernestus      Berchtold, 

by,  2,  19,  22,  23,  127-129 

Oneirodynia,  by,  120 

Punishment  of  Death, 

by,  180,  215 
The  Vampyre,  by,   2, 

11-18,  20-23,  125,  126 

Ximenes,  by,  2,  124 

Gaetano,  2,  5,  9,  155,  170, 

197,  200,  204,  205,  219-221 

Luigi,  155,  202,  218,  219 

Signora,  202 

Pollent,  41 

Pontelli,  Cavalier,    197-199,  201, 

203,  205,  218 
Porro,  172,  173 
Potocka,  Countess,  125,  126 

memoirs  of,  127 

Pradt,  Abb6  de,  56 


Raphael,  182 

Lo  Sposalizio,  by,  182,  183 

Reed,  Charlotte,  5-7 

Regnier,  Grand  Duke,  164,  171 

Rembrandt,  70,  81 

Rhine,  the,  80,  82,  86,  108 
Rocca,  137,  139,  146 

Judge,  137,  147 

Roche,  Dr.  de,  loi,  104 
Rogers,  Samuel,  iii,  112 
Rossetti,  Frances,  209 

Gabriele,  209,  219 

Wm.  M.,  10 

Memoir  of  Shelley,  by, 

Rossi,    105,  122,   132,   133,   139, 

148,  149 
Rousseau,  106 
Rubens,  39,  51 



Rubens,  Adoration  of  Magi,  by,  53 

Assembly  of  Saittts,  by,  51 

Crucifixion,  by,  52 

Descent  from  the  Cross,  by, 

52,  S3 

Martyrdom  of  St.  Peter,  by, 


St.  George,  etc.,  by,  51 

St.   Roch  and  the  Plague- 
stricken,  by,  39 

Visitation,  by,  53 

Rushton,  Robert,  31,  152 
Ryan,  Major,  130 

Saint  Aubyn,  Sir  John,  140, 


Tillotson,  140,  151 

Saint  Gothard,  Mount,  158,  159 
Saladin,  Alexis,  144 

August  e,  144,  146 

Charles,  142,  144 

Madlle.,  144,  147 

Mathilde,  144 

of  Vaugeron,  134-136,  I39. 

Saladins  of  Maligny,  140,  145 
Saporati,  Marchese,  134,  149 
Saussure,  Nicholas  T.,  139,  145 
Scala,    Teatro    della,    169,    171, 

Scheldt,  the,  46 
Schlegel,   August  W.    von,    137, 

139,  146 
Scott,  Sir  Walter,  70 
Secheron,  99,  icx),  103 
Severn,  Joseph,  181 
Sgricci,  183-186 

Artemisia,  by,  184 

Eteocle  e  Polinice,  by,  184 

Ettore,  by,  185,  186 

Shakespear,  147,  148 

Shelley,  Harriet,  109,  128,  130 

Mary,   12,  23,  99-102,  106- 

108,  no,  113,   116,  118,  123- 
128,  133-135.  209,  219 

Frankenstein,  by,   19, 

125,  126 
Memoir  of  Alfieri,  by, 

219,  220 

Percy  B.,  i,  3,  98-102,  104, 

106-110,     112-118,      120-133, 
13s.  136,  138,  185,  186,  204 

Epipsychidion,  by,  206 

Poetical    Essay,  etc., 

by,  no 

Queen  Mab,  by,  107 

Zastrozzi,  by,  109 

William,  116 

Sherwood  and  Neely,  16,  22 
Simplon,  the,  163 

Slaney,  Mr.,  149 

Mrs.,  122,  140,  149 

Soane,  John,  81,  212 

Mrs.,  212 

Somers,  Mr.,  141,  150,  204 
Stael,  Madame  de,  137,  139,  146, 

152,  216 
Swarrow,  172,  173,  183,  188 

Tasso,  116,  119 
Teniers,  David,  40 

Temptation  of  St.  Anthony, 

by,  40 

Thun,  154,  15s 

Lake  of,  154 

Tintoretto,  79 
Toffettheim,  143 
TofFettheim,  Madame,  139,  143 
Traveller,  The  (magazine),  4 
Trevanion,  Mr.,  140 

Mrs.,  140 



Unterwalden,  i6i,  162 

Vacca,  Antonio,  155,  204-206, 

Leopoldo,  204 

Madame,  206 

Valence,  150 
Vandyck,  41,  51,  53 

Crucifixion^  by,  41,  53 

Van  Eyck,  40 

Villa  Diodati,  Cologny,  98-100, 

no,  III,  120,  121,  125 
Viviani,  Conte,  192 

Viviani,  Emilia,  206 

Wallraf,  Professor,  78 
Wallraf-Richartz  Museum,  78 
Ward,  John  W.  (Lord  Dudley), 

Waterloo,  62-64,  213,  214 
Watts,  Mr.,  18,  20 
Wellington,  Duke  of,  68,  69 
Westmorland,    Countess  of,  181,. 

216,  218 
Wildman,  Colonel,  68 
Wordsworth,  Wm.,  28 
Wotheron,  Mr.,  173,  174,  180, 181 
Wraxall,  Sir  Nathaniel,  67,  68 

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